ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Albertville police had a man remove blue flashing lights from his truck due to concerns they could be used to impersonate an officer.
Assistant Chief Jamie Smith said police did not get any complaints from residents, but did not want people to see the black truck with strobing lights and think they need to pull over.
“We were afraid that they were going to get used but don’t believe it had actually occurred,” Smith said.
It is illegal to have such lights on a personal vehicle.
“Don’t do it is the best advice I can give you as it can get you in trouble,” Smith said.
“The vehicle in question in this, the owner has been located and those lights have been removed from the vehicle.”
Smith said more and more officers are having similar lights put on their patrol cars as the new LED lights are cheaper than the traditional bar lights on top of a squad car.
The visibility they provide to officers is comparable, but Smith said it can cause problems for drivers when they are unfamiliar and expect lights to be on the roof.
People also may not recognize unmarked patrol cars, which can be even more confusing as some police departments are also making cost-effective purchases such as using Chevrolet Tahoes and Dodge Chargers instead of the classic Ford Crown Victoria.
Smith said if you are worried flashing lights behind you are an impersonator, call police.
“Get them on the phone and say I’m at [a particular intersection], I’ve got an officer behind me, and I just want to verify this is a police car,” he said.
“No department is going to have a problem with that.”
Smith said it also good procedure in any traffic stop to acknowledge vehicles behind you.
“Let the officer know that you see them,” he said.
Slow down, turn on a blinker, turn on your hazard lights, just continue maybe at a slower pace than the speed limit and pull into a well lit area while an officer is behind you,”