Police /Legal

Union County Ark Sher­iff ’s Of­fice: Po­lice im­per­son­ator strikes again

EL DORADO Ark — For the sec­ond time within days, the Union County Ark Sher­iff’s Of­fice has re­ceived a re­port about some­one im­per­son­at­ing a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer pulling over a cit­i­zen in a white, un­marked ve­hi­cle.

At ap­prox­i­mately 11 p.m. on Wed­nes­day a woman called 911 emer­gency dis­patch­ers and told them that her 15-year-old son was be­ing stopped by what ap­peared to be an un­marked law en­force­ment unit with red and blue dash­board lights in the area of Del-Tin High­way and Par­nell Road.
Dis­patch­ers con­firmed there were no Union County Ark  Sher­iff’s Of­fice units in the area at the time.
Deputies later spoke with the boy at his res­i­dence, and he told them that he pulled onto the park­ing lot of a busi­ness in the 4400 block of Hay­nesville High­way/ Arkansas 15 to re­ply to a text mes­sage.
When he pulled back onto the high­way, he no­ticed a ve­hi­cle ap­proach­ing him from the south.
The boy said he turned onto Del-Tin High­way, and as he neared the en­trance of the Del-Tin Fiber fa­cil­ity, the ve­hi­cle, which had also turned onto the Del-Tin High­way, ac­ti­vated red-and­blue dash­board lights.
He said he was speak­ing to his mother at the time to let her know what was hap­pen­ing, and he told her, “This is not the po­lice.”
The boy said he drove back onto the high­way, and the sus­pect then turned off the flash­ing lights and turned east on Par­nell, the boy told deputies.
He de­scribed the sus­pect’s ve­hi­cle as white with tinted win­dows. Deputies said the boy was un­able to pro­vide the make of the ve­hi­cle.
A sim­i­lar in­ci­dent was re­ported to the sher­iff’s of­fice at ap­prox­i­mately 8:30 p.m. on July 23 on Par­nell Road.
A woman told deputies then that she was stopped by an un­marked, white older model po­lice car with red and blue emer­gency lights in­side the car.
She said a man ap­proached her car with a gun drawn and or­dered her to exit the car.
The man then com­manded her to place her hands on the hood of her ve­hi­cle, and he pat­ted her down.
Ac­cord­ing to a sher­iff’s of­fice re­port, the sus­pect told the woman that she matched the de­scrip­tion of a His­panic woman that he was look­ing for.
The woman said she felt as if the man was sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her, telling deputies that the “pat down was more than what she be­lieves is stan­dard.”
The sus­pect was de­scribed as a white man, ap­prox­i­mately 40 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and clean shaven.
He was re­port­edly wear­ing a star-shaped badge on his hip, and he pulled a sim­i­lar badge from his pocket.
The Union County and the Oua­chita County Sher­iff’s Of­fices sub­se­quently is­sued a BOLO, “be on the look­out” alert, for the sus­pects’ ve­hi­cle.
Sher­iff Mike McGough said in­ves­ti­ga­tors have iden­ti­fied a per­son of in­ter­est in the case.
“We’ve been get­ting calls, and I’ve got­ten a cou­ple of emails, so peo­ple are look­ing. We hope to get this (case) re­solved,” McGough said.
When asked if in­ves­ti­ga­tors think the same sus­pect was in­volved in both in­ci­dents, McGough said, “We can as­sume so, but un­til we catch him, it’s hard to tell.”
McGough of­fered some ad­vice for cit­i­zens who are be­ing pulled over and feel un­cer­tain about the sit­u­a­tion.
“Pull over in an area where you feel safe. If you’re un­sure, crack your win­dows and don’t un­lock the doors. Call 911,” he said.
Ci­ti­zens who do not feel safe should keep driv­ing to the near­est po­lice de­part­ment.
“If the of­fi­cer is real and of­fi­cial, and you don’t stop, you’ll have a whole bunch of po­lice be­hind you,” the sher­iff said. “If not, he is not likely to fol­low you.”
Un­marked ve­hi­cles are used by the sher­iff’s of­fice by of­fi­cers from the Crim­i­nal In­ves­tiga­tive Divi­sion, and most are dark gray, with the ex­cep­tion of a cou­ple that are blue and black, McGough said.
Most of the un­marked ve­hi­cles also have a push bumper.
“Our cars have re­flec­tive li­cense plates and a badge num­ber that says Union County Sher­iff on the front,” McGough said.
“Our lights and sirens are all blue. A lot of de­part­ments have blue and red lights, but ours are all blue,” he noted.

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