How to identify undercover officers when pulled over
driving along and notice flashing lights in the
car behind you...now what do you? First and foremost,
a driver must pull over to the side of
the road for a marked police vehicle using flashing
lights and siren.
are unmarked police vehicles on the road and they
come in all sizes and models. There are also off-duty
officers who are not driving police vehicles,
marked or unmarked, who may be compelled to act
on a suspicious driver. That being said, you may
find one day that a driver in a car behind you
is indicating that you should pull over to the
side of the road.
first rule is, don't speed up or try to get away.
Take a moment and take a critical examination
of what you're doing as a driver and what the
driver behind you may to trying to do. Now you
have a number of options:
1. Drive to a well-lit area that has a lot of
people present, such as the mall parking lot,
a convenience store, or service station.
Stay in your car and lock your doors. Watch the
person in the car following you.
If that person is a Maryland State Police officer,
he or she must park behind you, turn on the interior
dome light of the car, and put on the distinctive
Smokey the Bear hat that is part of the Maryland
State Police officer's uniform. Most state troopers
follow similar procedures, but check with your
individual state troopers officer for specific
tips on identifying an officer.
The officer will approach your car and ask you
to roll down the window. If you see the uniform,
the hat and the badge with a picture, you are
talking to a real officer.
off-duty officers when making a traffic stop in
a personal vehicle will first call in to the barracks
a description and license number of the car being
pursued. If you are suspicious about the car behind
you grab your cell phone and dial 911 anywhere in
the country to reach the local state police barracks.
Tell the dispatcher you are being followed by
a suspicious car that is indicating you should
pull over, and you will be routed to the state
barracks. Let them know you don't believe it's
an officer and you'd like confirmation. If it
is an officer, the police dispatcher will be able
to tell you what kind of car you're driving and
then confirm that you have an officer behind you.
Generally the barracks will also send an on-duty
officer in a marked vehicle out to meet you. If
you do pull over to the side of the road for an
unmarked vehicle, make sure the person approaching
your car shows you a badge and picture identification.
Do not unlock your doors, and roll down your window
only enough to speak and visually inspect the
identification. You can decide from there how comfortable
you are with the situation. If it still seems
suspicious, use your cell phone again and call
911 to talk to the dispatcher. That person
can advise you from there.
Maryland State Troopers provided this information;
you should check with your state troopers for
helpful tips in on identifying an officer in your