Trust in police shaken while police impersonator still at large
By Jessica Wallace
(JENNIFER STAHN / iNFOnews.ca)
October 08, 2013 - 3:13 PM
KAMLOOPS - A man allegedly impersonating police near Chase has laid low lately, but the search continues for the one responsible for shaking community trust in the real police.
"Trust is really important," said Chase RCMP Cpl. Mark Skotnicki. "It definitely goes to the more serious level of impersonation."
Two vehicles were pulled over in late August near Pritchard by a vehicle with flashing blue and red lights. Another incident was reported soon after of a small black car with similar lights in the windshield who followed a couple en route home near North Shuswap. The couple did not pull over, but turned off the main road, as the car continued past them. Police later confirmed no officers were involved and linked the three incidents.
Skotnicki said the suspect did not commit any criminal offences after pulling the vehicles over, but he stressed the severity of impersonating a police officer because of the demand of trust required for the job.
"If you're doing it in a situation where the public are trusting the police… there's a definite breach of trust happening in that regard," he said.
Skotnicki said the incidents have 'died down,' and the investigation is ongoing. He is appealing to the public for new leads.
"We don't have a plate or a good description of the vehicle," he said.
An early description of the suspect by witnesses painted the picture of a man in his early 20s, unshaven with a nose ring, wearing a tuque, plain clothes and black cotton gloves.
Skotnicki hopes the information will jog anyone's memory who may have encountered a phoney officer. Some red flags include: the vehicle, the flashing lights, professionalism and an identification badge and photo.
Barring any of that, he said phoning 9-1-1 is always the best option.
"If they're not happy with what's pulling them over behind them, they shouldn't be stopping," Skotnicki said.
Anyone with information is asked to call 250-679-3221. Visit the RCMP website for more information on how to properly identify an RCMP officer.
"Our investigation is definitely still active," he said. "He's still out there."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013