After a man was arrested by the Sparks Police Department for impersonating a police officer, FOX 31 reached out to local law enforcement agencies for some tips on how to tell a legitimate police officer from someone who's impersonating one.
Captain Craig Dodd with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office says there are a number of scenarios where people have been known to impersonate officers, from trying to rob a store to assaulting a young girl who's driving late at night.
Dodd says if you're driving and see those flashing blue lights in your mirrors but can't tell if it's a real uniformed officer, call 911's dispatch offices who can tell you if one of their own is attempting to stop you.
If you're more comfortable waiting to stop until you get to a well-lit or populated area, Dodd says it's also legal to do that to ensure your safety.
If for some reason you feel like you're being pulled over by an illegitimate officer, Dodd says do not speed away because if the person is in fact a real officer, they know how to maneuver their car to force you to stop.
If you're on foot and are approached by someone saying they're an officer, officials say you are legally allowed to ask them for identification. Dodd says all working officers are required to carry their badge and identification issued from the department they're working for.
If someone can't produce these items, call your dispatch offices to report it and confirm the person is who they say they are.
Officials say if there's ever a situation where you feel the person may be lying, simply call 911 to report the incident and ensure your safety.