Spokane Police receive reports of citizens being questioned by officer impersonators

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SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Police Department is asking the public to be wary of people impersonating officers.

The department has received two complaints of citizens being approached by someone pretending to be an officer in recent days. In both cases, the suspect acted under the pretense of checking the status of the citizen to determine if he or she was an essential worker or engaging in essential business.

SPD said neither of these encounters were conducted by actual officers.

One incident occurred Thursday night after 10 p.m. A healthcare worker was pulled over in their vehicle by someone in an unmarked car, impersonating an officer. The healthcare worker provided a health worker ID badge, which the impersonator reportedly said was insufficient to confirm their profession.

The first incident happened on March 26 around 6 a.m. A man was waiting at a bus stop when someone in a dark colored Crown Victoria, equipped with limited emergency lights in the interior, pulled up beside the man and asked him what he was doing out. The man said he was going to work and the impersonator said he would need paperwork from his employer.

SPD is not targeting random people on the streets to inquire about their working status during the COVID-19 pandemic, nor are people required to have paperwork proving they are essential workers.

If you are stopped or approached by someone pretending to be an officer, you are within your rights to ask the officer for their ID or request a uniformed officer be present. You should also call 911.

It is illegal to impersonate a law enforcement officer and punishable by law.