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Fairbanks Troopers seize fake police vehicle suspected of pulling people over

Troopers also talked about how to recognize a law enforcement officer and what to do if you think you are being pulled over by a fake officer
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 5:05 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Alaska State Troopers (AST) in Fairbanks have seized a vehicle that looks like an unmarked police car. They say it was allegedly used to pull over at least one person on the Richardson Highway around three weeks ago.

Troopers have been investigating incidents of people pretending to be law enforcement and conducting traffic stops since last summer. Trooper Lieutenant Jess Carson says that the wife of a Fairbanks Police officer was pulled over a few weeks ago and noticed something was wrong. She contacted AST and they were able to find the car and a suspect.

“Through some investigation we have seized the vehicle and we believe we have the individual identified,” Carson said. “We are waiting for some search warrants to be finished up and we will be forwarding charges on this individual.”

He said that they have received multiple reports of someone pulling people over since last summer, and encouraged anyone who believes they may have been contacted by a fake officer to call the troopers. He said that the person would give people warnings and let them go. Carson also said that if the person who pulled you over gave you an agency to contact, check that agency first.

Carson also used these instances to inform the public about how to tell if someone is actually law enforcement. “What we wanted to do is notify the public of what they can expect, what their law enforcement agencies look like in this town and who they can trust.”

He said there are five main agencies in Fairbanks: North Pole Police Department, Fairbanks Police Department, Alaska State Troopers, University of Alaska Fairbanks Police Department, and Fairbanks Airport Police and Fire Department.

Patches of the five primary law enforcement agencies in Fairbanks. From left to right (Top row:...
Patches of the five primary law enforcement agencies in Fairbanks. From left to right (Top row: North Pole Police Department, Fairbanks Police Department, Alaska State Troopers) (Bottom row: University of Alaska Fairbanks Police Department, Fairbanks Airport Police and Fire Department)(John Dougherty/Amanda Becker/KTVF)

Carson said that whenever law enforcement conducts a traffic stop there are two things they will tell you.

“You are allowed to ask them what agency they work for and what their last name is, any of the agencies will notify you of that,” Carson said. “If someone doesn’t give you that information, it is something to be concerned about. If you are concerned, we recommend that you call 911.”

Carson did say that some agencies use unmarked cars. “The different agencies have some unmarked vehicles, [and] some people that are in plain clothes with the investigative agencies.” But he added, “They will still provide you with the agency they work for and their last name, and if you feel uncomfortable they will have a marked unit show up on scene so that you can feel comfortable.”

Carson said that if you see flashing lights you are required by law to stop, but you can always call 911 and they will tell you if someone is pulling you over.

The car in the foreground is Lt. Jess Carson's vehicle. The car in the background is the one...
The car in the foreground is Lt. Jess Carson's vehicle. The car in the background is the one they seized from the person suspected of pulling people over and giving them warnings.(John Dougherty/Amanda Becker/KTVF)

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