On Thursday at approximately 10:40 p.m., a New Garden Township police officer received a report of a subject impersonating an officer, prompting police to issue safety tips.
The woman offered this account: She was travelling southbound in the 900 block of Newark Road when she observed a vehicle approach from behind that had a single red dashboard-light flashing from inside the vehicle. She said she started to pull over, and the vehicle, described only as a sedan, turned the red light off. She said she continued southbound onto Gap Newport Pike, and the vehicle reactivated the red light, which prompted her to stop near the intersection of Gap Newport Pike and Limestone Road. As a man approached her vehicle, she observed that he was wearing brown “Timberland-style” boots and a black coat, not a police uniform, which alarmed her. She drove away and flagged down an officer in uniform.
The New Garden Township police request that anyone with information or who has experienced a similar incident contact them at 610-268-2907, ext. 100, or the anonymous TIP line at 610-268-2907, ext. 222.
In the meantime, the department offers the following advice to anyone with concerns about the legitimacy of a traffic stop: Drive normally to a well-lighted and public place, ideally with people present before stopping. If the vehicle is not a marked unit, the emergency lights should be built-in, not temporarily placed on the vehicle. Turn on your emergency flashers, but don’t turn off your car. Do not get out of the vehicle to meet the officer and keep your door locked. Most officers will advise you of the reason for the stop and request your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance; if they tell you to get out of the car without any preliminary questions, be suspicious. Look for a uniform with official insignia or other official attire and equipment, keeping in mind that some of these items are available to the public. If the officer is in plainclothes, look for identifying clothing and equipment. If unsure that you’re dealing with a police officer, ask to see an official department ID and badge, or ask if you can contact Chester County Police Radio (610-268-3171) to confirm their identity. You may also request that a marked patrol unit respond to the location.
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