CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Cape Coral Police arrested two teenage boys Thursday night after they allegedly attempted to use their high beams and red and blue flashing lights from a smartphone to pull over a driver in North Cape Coral.
Last night around 9:00 p.m., police were dispatched to a report of a vehicle that was attempting to stop another vehicle by impersonating a police officer in the area of Chiquita Blvd N. near Tropicana Blvd W.
The caller said a vehicle was behind him flashing its high beams and flashing a red/blue light across the front windshield. The caller said that he began to slow because he believed he was being stopped by an unmarked police car, but as the vehicle got closer to his vehicle, he realized that it was in fact a Nissan Altima.
The caller was unsure of whether it was a police cruiser or not, so he called 911.
The investigation revealed that the 17-year-old driver and the 16-year-old passenger had attempted to stop the caller's vehicle by using a combination of flashing the car's high beams and using a YouTube video of flashing red and blue lights on a cell phone.
Here are some tips to keep this from happenign to you:
Observe- Take a good look behind you, especially if you are both turning a corner. If the flashing lights match those that you know are used by the local crime fighters, than you may feel more comfortable with stopping. Some agencies use all blue, some red and blue, some only red, while others may have some other color combination. If your local constabulary uses only blue and you see someone trying to stop with you green strobe lights, that could be a clue that they may not be for real. When you turn the corner, can you see identifiable markings on the side of the car in your rear view mirror. While unmarked units can conduct traffic stops in many jurisdictions, some departments require that they be conducted only by marked cars.
Signal- Let the officer know that you realize that they are attempting to make the traffic stop. Many officers get nervous when cars do not stop when signalled to do so. They fear that the person may be getting or hiding a gun, getting rid of drugs or other evidence, or just thinking of what their next move should be. Put on your hazard lights and, if it's dark, put on your interior dome light so the officer behind you can see that you are not making those dreaded "furtive movements" for a gun.
Call- Pick up your cell phone and call 911. Almost all police officers, deputy sheriffs, and state troopers are required to call their communications center on the radio when conducting a traffic stop.
While officers get concerned if you fail to stop right away, both their radio transmissions and your call to 911 are recorded and can show that you were wanting to stop in good faith. You may be able to demonstrate that you were seeking verification before doing so. This is particularly understandable to the authorities if you are a woman travelling alone on that lonely highway late at night. However, that won't work if you take an prolonged period of time to do so.
When talking to the 911 operator, give your location, your name, and vehicle description. Ask if a law enforcement officer is known to be stopping a car matching your information.
Drive- Head to a well-lit, populated area such as a mall parking lot or 24 hour gas station. Heading to the local police sub-station does not always work late at night as many rural facilities are not manned after business hours.
Ask. In a very respectful manner, ask the law enforcer that approaches your car door for identification. In addition to the badge, all officials have a photo ID card that clearly identifies them and the agency from which they derive their authority. When in doubt, politely explain your concerns and ask for a supervisor.