Whether they're controlling the flow of traffic in construction zones or enforcing the laws on Tucson's streets, there are countless legitimate police officers working hard in southern Arizona.
Unfortunately, there are few illegitimate ones as well. And those impersonators are causing some real concern both for the public and police officers alike.
"Our main goal is the safety of the community," says Tucson Police Sgt. Maria Hawke. "And there's a trust the community has in law enforcement."
Which is why news of police impersonators is extremely problematic to Tucson Police.
Several reported incidents over the last month, all coming to a head on June 20th, when a TPD chopper spotted what appeared to be a police imposter pulling over another vehicle in the 4900 block of East 5th Street.
Real cops were called to the scene and within minutes, two suspects were arrested and charged with a series of felonies.
"Whether they were the only two involved in any of these incidents is still under investigation," Hawke says. "So we're leaving the door open as to whether or not somebody else may have been part of this activity."
Same goes for any potential victims.
"I'm like really scared now," says concerned Tucsonan Sharla Huebner. "My fiance' just got pulled over."
Police want to hear from anyone who's been pulled over by an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria, dark in color.
The vehicle didn't have any lights or sirens on the roof, police say.
Though it did have flashing lights on the dashboard and rear window -- a real dilemma for anybody getting pulled over.
"And that's the big question," says William Rich, another concerned Tucsonan. "What do you do? Do you keep going and if it's a real officer, then you get in trouble...what do you do?"
"I don't even know what I would do," Sharla Huebner added, shaking her head. "Give them my car?"
If there's any doubt, police say most traffic stops are performed by uniformed officers in marked vehicles, none of whom would have any problem with you leading them to a well-lit, highly-visible area.
Unmarked cars are usually part of a special deployment so you can ask those officers to radio a regular unit.
If you're still unsure you can ask the officer for their badge number.
Finally, can also always call 911 to verify it's a real officer who's stopping you.
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