This is a story that was recently sent to me, and I knew I had to share it with you after I read it. This may be a story you’ve heard before, but it’s new to me. I went and checked snopes.com (a website that checks the validity of these sorts of things) and found this story gets some of the crucial information wrong, and I wanted to correct what it gets wrong and share the crucial information it does get right.
It was about 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren’s parents have always told her never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but to wait until they get to a gas station.
Lauren listened to her parents advice, and promptly called *77 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren’t, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way.
Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.
Whether this story is true or not, women driving alone have been sexually assaulted by rapists pretending to be patrolmen (and in certain rare cases by actual police officers). So the advice the story gives about not pulling over in deserted areas when signaled to do so by unmarked police vehicles is really good advice. Especially since there are a lot of old police cars that have been put out of service driving around these days.
Although in a few states calling *77 on a cell phone will immediately connect you to that state’s highway patrol, that code is far from universal. Rather than frantically trying to figure out which one will work in the area you’re in, police generally recommend that the best approach is to get around the problem by trying 911 first. If you’re curious as to what each state’s number is though, this is a good website to visit: http://www.911dispatch.com/911/mobilenumbers.html
I checked with a friend of mine who’s a cop and if a suspicious cop car tries to pull you over at night, turn on your flashers, slow down, and keep driving until you get to a well-lit area where there are other people around. The best thing to do is to call 911 to tell them what’s happening and ask them to relay to the officer in pursuit your intent to continue traveling until you’ve gotten to a lighted area with lots of people around.
So while this story may not be 100% true, the moral of the story is something that everyone should remember. Someone who is impersonating a police officer is planning on the victim ignoring any of the small things that aren’t quite right, and just taking it on faith that the officer is who they makes themselves out to be. I just felt like sharing this with you so you know what to do in a situation like that. I hope you’re never put in a position to have to use this information, but if you are, then you can now protect yourself and those with you safely and effectively.
Apple Glass and Mirror Team