Police urge vigilance after motorist reports being pulled over by a police impersonator on a back country B.C. provincial highway – UPDATED

Midway, BC – A rare public notification and plea for vigilance by the RCMP surrounding a suspected police impersonation incident on March 21, 2021 in the Boundary region, led to 4 additional motorists coming forward with encounters outside of Lumby just a week prior. A fulsome review of each of those incidents has allowed GIS investigators to confirm those contacts were in fact carried out by a uniformed police officer.

Investigators with the Vernon North Okanagan Rural RCMP General Investigation Section (GIS), supported by the Southeast District GIS conducted a probe into the four reported incidents in the Lumby BC area. That review has revealed that each of those traffic stops were in fact carried out by a provincial traffic enforcement officer with the BC RCMP North Okanagan Traffic Services (NOTS), a roving traffic enforcement unit, based in Falkland. The police officer was on-duty, dressed in full uniform and operating a fully equipped unmarked white Chevrolet Tahoe.

A complete review of the traffic enforcement officer’s electronic database police records, combined with in-car video system footage has provided confirmation that the four reported traffic stops in the Lumby area in mid-March were conducted by the highway patrol officer, states Insp. Jeff Dowling, Officer-In-Charge of BC RCMP Traffic Services in the Southeast District. We have since updated our four civilian complainants from the Lumby area of the investigative findings to date. We wish to thank each of them for coming forward with their information, in order to aid in our ongoing investigation.

The impersonation of a police officer is a somewhat rare occurrence. If you suspect someone may be using or is planning to use real or replica police equipment, clothing or memorabilia to commit a crime, please report it to your local police or Crime Stoppers, states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the BC RCMP in the Southeast District.

We care deeply about the communities we serve and we are committed to sharing timely information in order to preserve public safety. We are now assessing our processes to see if there is any way we can help reduce public uncertainty, adds Cpl. O’Donaghey.

The investigation into the suspect police impersonator case in the Boundary region continues to be handled by the Midway RCMP, with oversight from the Southeast District GIS team. If members of the public notice anything suspicious, or is anything seems off, they are encouraged to call their local police or 9-1-1.

BACKGROUND

Midway, BC – Police in the Boundary region are urging motorists to be vigilant, after Midway RCMP responded to a report of a suspicious occurrence that took place Sunday evening on a back country provincial highway.

On March 21, 2021, shortly after 8:30 p.m., Midway RCMP received a third party report after a suspicious occurrence in which a yet to be identified suspect allegedly conducted a traffic stop with a motorist travelling between Rock Creek and Kelowna along Highway 33. Acting on information relayed to police by a close family member of the motorist, front line RCMP officers deployed into the region in search of the suspect vehicle.

Police Impersonator
Police Impersonator

Investigators have learned that the motorist was in the Westbridge area when the suspect vehicle, a white pick up truck, pulled out behind him, follow the victim for a short distance and then activated a set of red and blue lights installed in the vehicle’s grill. The victim pulled to the side of the roadway and the suspect driver approached his vehicle carrying a flashlight.

“Although the victim was order to exit his vehicle during the interaction, he trusted his instincts, distracted the suspect and managed to flee towards Kelowna,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, a spokesman for the BC RCMP in the Southeast District. “The suspect reportedly followed the victim for several kilometers before pulling off the highway. The victim contacted a family member when he entered into cell service range, who in turn reported the incident to police.”

The unknown suspect was described as an older man with blonde unkempt hair, approx. 6 ft to 6 ft 2 in tall. He was clean shaven and seen wearing a white dress shirt, with a dark pair of casual pants.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Midway RCMP at 250-449-2244.

RCMP offer the following tips to motorists who believe they are being stopped an non-legitimate police vehicle:

Slow down, drive in a safe manner to the nearest well-lit, populated area.

If this is not possible, do the following:

Lock all doors, pull over safely and leave your vehicle running;

If you have a cellular phone, take it out immediately, hold it in full view of the person who has pulled you over and call 911;

Calmly give the 911 operator your location and express your concern;

Ask the 911 operator / police dispatcher if they have had any communication with a police officer about a traffic stop in your area and ask them to relay your concerns to that law enforcement officer;

Tell the officer, through a cracked window and locked door, that you plan to cooperate, but you have heard about police impersonators. Indicate that you are concerned for your safety, and that you are verifying the police contact through dispatch;

If you remain uncertain that the person who pulled you over is in fact a police officer, ask him/her if you can proceed to a more populated area. If he/she agrees, tell the 911 dispatcher where you are heading to and proceed.

File # 2021-836

Midway RCMP

Southeast District RCMP



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