But would you REALLY not stop for that car?

RoverTtx

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People constantly spot these ridiculous "stealth" police cars. Usually the response is something along the lines of "I wouldn't pull over for that".


What if you're driving, maybe speeding and a car with absolutely no markings lights you up. Let's say there's no countermeasure alert either because that would strengthen the case for it being a real leo. What would you do?

Do you pull over? Do you call it in? Is your reasoning more out of disgust in the police behavior or fear it could be a fake police car?

I've run over this scenario in my head and tried to think what I would do.
I think the best course of action would be to call 911 and explain the situation. I'd ask if it's a real police car or not. This way, it seems a lot harder for the cop to say you were evading and not pulling over. It provides documented evidence that you were not just running.

Also for my Texas peeps, what are the laws behind this nonsense?

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The Mighty Four Banger

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I’m sure everyone has seen that most pedophiles and idiots use very old and cheap setups that nobody in their right mind would pull over for but out here there are marked f-150s and then there are the volunteers that have their own f-150s that are outfitted and are indistinguishable from cops light wise, especially at night.

Personally, I’d pull over for anything if it’s believable lights on a believable unit. If I think it’s an idiot with a light bar getting me out of the way I’d just call him in and anything else that thinks they’re funny would have a very hard time getting away from me while the actual cops are catching up. If there’s a fake I’m sure I’d be able to tell from the encounter itself.

No idea on the Texas laws over all this but there are plenty of unmarked units I’ve come across so it’s not like it would be that out of the ordinary for me.
 

NorEaster18

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If I'm really sketched out, I'd call it in before pulling over. Especially if there was something really off about the whole thing. One example for this is a little while back, local news was reporting that a guy was driving around MA in an old Crown Vic and lights just pulling people over to rob them. However, his light bar had red lights, and MA police use a Blue/White combo exclusively, unless it's a construction zone or another emergency marking. I'd absolutely call in a completely unmarked car with red lights in this state. There may be other triggers where others drive that just make you say "I don't think so."
 

thebravo

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You should put on your hazard lights and then I'd either call in and get verification or pull off into a gas station or public area if possible and request that they call a marked unit before handing over stuff to them. Most officers have no issue calling a second marked unit to assist. If they refuse to call a marked unit then I would definitely need to confirm them via a call to 911 before giving them my DL and info as even badges can be faked. I think with the number of incidents of people inpersonating officers the real officers understand that you have a legitimate concern for your own safety and would be ok with you confirming them via a 911 call. we have a bunch of unmarked cars down here, chargers and explorers so it's always a possibility.
 

Kennyc56

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NC is FULL of unmarked Troopers, Sheriff cars, and town cops. Not to mention ghost cop cars from all 3. If you don't stop, and I mean now! They will get down right nasty! Even if you try the ole' "I was looking for a safe spot to pull over" line. I just pull over as soon as I see blue lights but I'm ready to get the hell out of there if something feels sketchy!
 
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Frankrizzo

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I’ve seen a crap ton of ghosted black and white all over Texas and it is everyone from sheriffs to city and even the weirdo judicial district peons I see in west Texas. I can guarantee if you didn’t stop for them you’ll end up having guns pointed at you and one idiots trigger pull away from being shot at. Actually the most consistent livery lately seems to be DPS. Most everyone seems to buy 50% ghost now for newer units. Really the best tell now is to look at the wheels and grills. SUVs where the almost always chrome grill is black or steelies is the easier items. Some ghosts are worse than others where it’s just a similar color but different shades, now the whites are flat ridiculous where the only thing showing a letter is going from gloss to matte same exact white color. At that point I don’t get why they label the vehicle at all. Even in a photograph you’d be hard to tell it had anything on it.
 

Tedles

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It seems like pulling over calling it in is the safest option, I doubt any real LEO would be too upset either as I'm sure they would understand being worried.
The other day I came across a black explorer that looked like it was totally outfitted with lights, slits on the rear windows, extra antennas, and even had a police interceptor badge on the back, only thing that gave it away was normal plates, but as I learned recently even that doesn't mean they aren't police. When I went up to the car nothing inside suggested it was owned by an LEO, no radios or radar. Almost took some pictures but the guy who owned it saw me looking inside and wasn't super happy. - just some jerk in a tanktop.
 

Deacon

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Also for my Texas peeps, what are the laws behind this nonsense?
It is nonsense, yes, but “ghost” vehicles are legal in Texas. It’s illegal to use unmarked vehicles for traffic duty. I think it was a sheriff in Houston that introduced a way to skirt the law by marking vehicles just barely enough to not be outright criminal. It’s been going on for over 10 years at least, based on my own observations. I’d really like to see the legislature change the law with wording that requires vehicles to be clearly marked for high visibility, such as with contrasting colors with a minimum of the agency's logo and name and vehicle number large enough to be reasonably readable at a distance in all lighting conditions.

Texas sees people impersonating officers from time to time, and it’s all this stealth nonsense that makes it so easy to pull off. Anyone driving any Ford or Chevy can slap some lights on on their visor and make people pull over. I think it’s going to take a state congressman having his daughter raped and murdered by one of these impersonators before they get off their ass and put a drop to this BS.
 
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Got Jeep

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"At that point I don’t get why they label the vehicle at all "

- Because I believe in some places the law says they have to be marked. So technically they are marked. Even if you can't see it !
I guess we need to have some legislation to specify exactly how they are Marked.
 

LeftLaneInPA

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Something like this happened a couple of months ago up here.

In PA, law enforcement vehicles use red-and-blue lights. Fire and ambulance use all-red. Volunteer firefighters and ambulance crew-members are allowed to use all-blue lights in their personal vehicles, but motorists have absolutely no legal requirement to yield to them, nor are they authorized to violate traffic laws (i.e. red lights, speed limits) when they're using them. The blue lights are commonly referred to as "courtesy lights".

Most firefighters don't bother with them nowadays, and generally speaking their use is discouraged by the Fire Department leadership. The general exception to this is volunteer Fire Police, who legitimately need it for traffic control and increased visibility.

So the local federal Park Rangers got a new pick-up truck that was maked up in the usual FPS livery. But instead of red-and-blue lights, it was kitted out with all-blue. There were a couple of instances of them using this truck to attempt to pull over motorists and the motorists not stopping. From what I understand, the area's federal Congressman had to step in and essentially tell the FPS to quit it until they got their warning lights corrected for the area.
 

jimveta

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hmm.. does it correlate with low to no state income taxes?
 

protias

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In WI, there is no legal obligation to stop for unmarked cars if you reasonably believe it to not be a police car.


346.04  Obedience to traffic officers, signs and signals; fleeing from officer.
(1)  No person including a personal delivery device operator shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order, signal, or direction of a traffic officer.
(2) No operator of a vehicle shall disobey the instructions of any official traffic sign or signal unless otherwise directed by a traffic officer.
(2t) No operator of a vehicle, after having received a visible or audible signal to stop his or her vehicle from a traffic officer, federal law enforcement officer, or marked or unmarked police vehicle that the operator knows or reasonably should know is being operated by a law enforcement officer, shall knowingly resist the officer by failing to stop his or her vehicle as promptly as safety reasonably permits.
(3) No operator of a vehicle, after having received a visual or audible signal from a traffic officer, federal law enforcement officer, or marked or unmarked police vehicle that the operator knows or reasonably should know is being operated by a law enforcement officer, shall knowingly flee or attempt to elude any officer by willful or wanton disregard of such signal so as to interfere with or endanger the operation of the police vehicle, the traffic officer, the law enforcement officer, other vehicles, or pedestrians, nor shall the operator increase the speed of the operator's vehicle or extinguish the lights of the vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee.
(4) Subsection (2t) is not an included offense of sub. (3), but a person may not be convicted of violating both subs. (2t) and (3) for acts arising out of the same incident or occurrence.
History: 1991 a. 316; 2001 a. 109; 2017 a. 13, 347.
That an officer was driving a vehicle equipped with red lights and siren was insufficient to prove that vehicle was “marked" under sub. (3). State v. Oppermann, 156 Wis. 2d 241, 456 N.W.2d 625 (Ct. App. 1990).
The knowledge requirement in sub. (3) applies only to fleeing or attempting to elude an officer. The statute does not require the operator of a fleeing vehicle to actually interfere with or endanger identifiable vehicles or persons; he or she need only drive in a manner that creates a risk or likelihood of that occurring. State v. Sterzinger, 2002 WI App 171, 256 Wis. 2d 925, 649 N.W.2d 677, 01-1440.
In sub. (3), “willful" modifies “disregard." In that context, “willful" requires a subjective understanding by the defendant that a person known by the defendant to be a traffic officer has directed the defendant to take a particular action, and with that understanding, the defendant chose to act in contravention of the officer's direction. Either willful or wanton disregard is sufficient to result in a statutory violation. An act done “willfully" does not require a showing of personal hate or ill will. Sub. (3) does not provide a good faith exception to compliance. State v. Hanson, 2012 WI 4, 338 Wis. 2d 243, 808 N.W.2d 390, 08-2759.
Under both the statute and the pattern jury instructions, there are 3 methods by which the statutory requirements under sub. (3) for knowingly fleeing or attempting to elude a traffic officer, can be satisfied: 1) by increasing the speed of the vehicle; 2) by extinguishing the lights of the vehicle, or 3) by willful or wanton disregard of the signal so as to interfere with or endanger the officer, vehicles, or pedestrians. State v. Beamon, 2013 WI 47, 347 Wis. 2d 559, 830 N.W.2d 681, 10-2003.
An unmarked police vehicle displaying red and blue lights is not a marked vehicle for purposes of sub. (2). Section 346.19, regarding the requirements on the approach of an emergency vehicle, is the proper statute to invoke when the proof requirements for fleeing under this section are not met. 76 Atty. Gen. 214.



76 Op. Att'y Gen. 214, 214 (1987)

You request my opinion as to whether a police vehicle displaying flashing red and blue lights is a marked vehicle for purposes of section 346.04(3), Stats. The answer to your question is no.



I tried looking for it on RDFGS as well, but RDFGS looks to be gone. :(
 

Gunney57

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In WI, there is no legal obligation to stop for unmarked cars if you reasonably believe it to not be a police car.


346.04  Obedience to traffic officers, signs and signals; fleeing from officer.
(1)  No person including a personal delivery device operator shall fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order, signal, or direction of a traffic officer.
(2) No operator of a vehicle shall disobey the instructions of any official traffic sign or signal unless otherwise directed by a traffic officer.
(2t) No operator of a vehicle, after having received a visible or audible signal to stop his or her vehicle from a traffic officer, federal law enforcement officer, or marked or unmarked police vehicle that the operator knows or reasonably should know is being operated by a law enforcement officer, shall knowingly resist the officer by failing to stop his or her vehicle as promptly as safety reasonably permits.
(3) No operator of a vehicle, after having received a visual or audible signal from a traffic officer, federal law enforcement officer, or marked or unmarked police vehicle that the operator knows or reasonably should know is being operated by a law enforcement officer, shall knowingly flee or attempt to elude any officer by willful or wanton disregard of such signal so as to interfere with or endanger the operation of the police vehicle, the traffic officer, the law enforcement officer, other vehicles, or pedestrians, nor shall the operator increase the speed of the operator's vehicle or extinguish the lights of the vehicle in an attempt to elude or flee.
(4) Subsection (2t) is not an included offense of sub. (3), but a person may not be convicted of violating both subs. (2t) and (3) for acts arising out of the same incident or occurrence.
History: 1991 a. 316; 2001 a. 109; 2017 a. 13, 347.
That an officer was driving a vehicle equipped with red lights and siren was insufficient to prove that vehicle was “marked" under sub. (3). State v. Oppermann, 156 Wis. 2d 241, 456 N.W.2d 625 (Ct. App. 1990).
The knowledge requirement in sub. (3) applies only to fleeing or attempting to elude an officer. The statute does not require the operator of a fleeing vehicle to actually interfere with or endanger identifiable vehicles or persons; he or she need only drive in a manner that creates a risk or likelihood of that occurring. State v. Sterzinger, 2002 WI App 171, 256 Wis. 2d 925, 649 N.W.2d 677, 01-1440.
In sub. (3), “willful" modifies “disregard." In that context, “willful" requires a subjective understanding by the defendant that a person known by the defendant to be a traffic officer has directed the defendant to take a particular action, and with that understanding, the defendant chose to act in contravention of the officer's direction. Either willful or wanton disregard is sufficient to result in a statutory violation. An act done “willfully" does not require a showing of personal hate or ill will. Sub. (3) does not provide a good faith exception to compliance. State v. Hanson, 2012 WI 4, 338 Wis. 2d 243, 808 N.W.2d 390, 08-2759.
Under both the statute and the pattern jury instructions, there are 3 methods by which the statutory requirements under sub. (3) for knowingly fleeing or attempting to elude a traffic officer, can be satisfied: 1) by increasing the speed of the vehicle; 2) by extinguishing the lights of the vehicle, or 3) by willful or wanton disregard of the signal so as to interfere with or endanger the officer, vehicles, or pedestrians. State v. Beamon, 2013 WI 47, 347 Wis. 2d 559, 830 N.W.2d 681, 10-2003.
An unmarked police vehicle displaying red and blue lights is not a marked vehicle for purposes of sub. (2). Section 346.19, regarding the requirements on the approach of an emergency vehicle, is the proper statute to invoke when the proof requirements for fleeing under this section are not met. 76 Atty. Gen. 214.



76 Op. Att'y Gen. 214, 214 (1987)

You request my opinion as to whether a police vehicle displaying flashing red and blue lights is a marked vehicle for purposes of section 346.04(3), Stats. The answer to your question is no.



I tried looking for it on RDFGS as well, but RDFGS looks to be gone. :(
Oooohh boy we are running the risk of the over-achieving young buck getting his blue undies in a bundle! I say a stop and a 911 call is the prudent way to handle it, but the middle of no where stop is a dilemma...
Post automatically merged:
I guess my CC status would influence my decision somewhat!
 
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Glenn Bazzano

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Oooohh boy we are running the risk of the over-achieving young buck getting his blue undies in a bundle! I say a stop and a 911 call is the prudent way to handle it, but the middle of no where stop is a dilemma...
Post automatically merged:
I guess my CC status would influence my decision somewhat!
People constantly spot these ridiculous "stealth" police cars. Usually the response is something along the lines of "I wouldn't pull over for that".


What if you're driving, maybe speeding and a car with absolutely no markings lights you up. Let's say there's no countermeasure alert either because that would strengthen the case for it being a real leo. What would you do?

Do you pull over? Do you call it in? Is your reasoning more out of disgust in the police behavior or fear it could be a fake police car?

I've run over this scenario in my head and tried to think what I would do.
I think the best course of action would be to call 911 and explain the situation. I'd ask if it's a real police car or not. This way, it seems a lot harder for the cop to say you were evading and not pulling over. It provides documented evidence that you were not just running.

Also for my Texas peeps, what are the laws behind this nonsense?

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What I see as the main drawback for not stopping and calling 911 because you question the validity of an unmarked police car, is that when you do stop, you are sure to get a ticket. Making a ruckus and bringing more officers into the mix, will not go well as far as talking your way out of a ticket with just a warning. You want him to prove he's a real cop, come to court and I'll show you...
Glenn
 

protias

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What I see as the main drawback for not stopping and calling 911 because you question the validity of an unmarked police car, is that when you do stop, you are sure to get a ticket. Making a ruckus and bringing more officers into the mix, will not go well as far as talking your way out of a ticket with just a warning. You want him to prove he's a real cop, come to court and I'll show you...
Glenn
And you are 100% certain the guy with red and blue lights is not some psychopath pretending to be a cop? Chances are it probably is a cop, but I'm pointing out what WI law states.
 

erickonphoenix

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It is nonsense, yes, but “ghost” vehicles are legal in Texas. It’s illegal to use unmarked vehicles for traffic duty. I think it was a sheriff in Houston that introduced a way to skirt the law by marking vehicles just barely enough to not be outright criminal. It’s been going on for over 10 years at least, based on my own observations. I’d really like to see the legislature change the law with wording that requires vehicles to be clearly marked for high visibility, such as with contrasting colors with a minimum of the agency's logo and name and vehicle number large enough to be reasonably readable at a distance in all lighting conditions.

Texas sees people impersonating officers from time to time, and it’s all this stealth nonsense that makes it so easy to pull off. Anyone driving any Ford or Chevy can slap some lights on on their visor and make people pull over. I think it’s going to take a state congressman having his daughter raped and murdered by one of these impersonators before they get off their ass and put a drop to this BS.
It was our Assistant Police Chief Vicky King that thought up the idea. And unmarked cars are deployed in Texas but generally in special operations and usually have marked backup. Same thing in Louisiana where I had my incident. And of course they know it's bullchit that's why they don't charge you with fleeing. They just use the marked unit to get you to pull over then the unmarked writes you up. Real clever tactic that one.
 

asleeper

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NC is FULL of unmarked Troopers, Sheriff cars, and town cops. Not to mention ghost cop cars from all 3. If you don't stop, and I mean now! They will get down right nasty! Even if you try the ole' "I was looking for a safe spot to pull over" line. I just pull over as soon as I see blue lights but I'm ready to get the hell out of there if something feels sketchy!
Same as VA, especially VSP and FFX Co. They mainly use unmarked vehicles for nothing but traffic enforcement.
 

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