Garvin County deputies are searching for a suspect after receiving multiple reports of an individual making traffic stops and impersonating an officer.
Garvin County Sheriff Jim Mullett said both traffic stops occurred last week in Garvin County. On Sept. 11, a female reported being pulled over by a vehicle in Pauls Valley on State Highway 77. The woman described the vehicle as a black Dodge Charger with a red and blue light on the front of the car.
A white male standing at 5’10 with light brown or blonde hair and tattoos on his throat, arms, hands and under his eye reportedly asked the female for her license and registration and stated that he was a Garvin County deputy.
According to the woman’s account, the male was also wearing a duty belt that was too big for him, did not have a badge and was carrying a firearm that did not fit properly in the holster. Mullett said the woman did not believe the man was a cop and drove off.
A few days later, on Sept. 14, a Garvin County dispatcher reported being pulled over by a vehicle with a similar description near the intersection of Highway 29 and 177. The suspect reportedly approached the female’s driver side window and tapped on the glass with a flashlight.
The male advised the woman that she had been pulled over for speeding and when she asked if the man was a reserve officer, he reportedly became agitated and stated that he was a Garvin County deputy.
After the woman confronted the suspect and told him that she works for Garvin County, the suspect ran back to his car and made a U-turn, heading south towards Sulphur, Mullett said.
“When he was making contact with the drivers he just stated that he was a Garvin County Deputy and when confronted he gets back into his vehicle and leaves,” Mullett said. “He doesn’t say anything.”
The Garvin County Sheriff’s office has currently not apprehended a suspect, Mullett said. However, there are a few steps individuals can take to remain safe. One of the easiest ways to spot a police impersonator is to examine their vehicle, Mullett said.
A patrol vehicle should be marked with reflective decals on the sides and hood of the car. These decals should clearly identify the vehicle as a police vehicle and should include car numbers, a police shield and police department identifiers.
Officers should also be in full uniform, with a badge made out of metal, name tag, service tag indicating the officer’s number of years in service, a radio and a utility belt containing a flashlight, firearm, handcuffs, taser, bullet magazines and pepper spray, Mullett said.
If pulled over, try to stop in a well-lit, populated area. Individuals should keep their doors locked and only roll down their window enough to communicate.
Officers are unsure as to why the suspect would be impersonating an officer, Mullett said. “That’s what’s odd to us is we don’t know. I don’t have any reasoning to why,” he said. “It’s a mystery to us.”
Anyone who believes that they may have had an encounter with the impersonator is asked to call the Garvin County E911 at (405) 238-7591 or the Garvin County Sheriff’s office at (580) 298-9900.
“If there’s anything that feels odd to somebody, feel free to give us a call,” Mullett said.