'Is that a real cop stopping me?' See PVPD driver action tips

If an unmarked car is stopping you and you have a legitimate question or concern as to whether or not you are being stopped by an actual police officer, the Prescott Valley Police Department is providing driver action tips to help keep you safe. (File photo)

If an unmarked car is stopping you and you have a legitimate question or concern as to whether or not you are being stopped by an actual police officer, the Prescott Valley Police Department is providing driver action tips to help keep you safe. (File photo)

The Prescott Valley Police Department (PVPD) regularly fields the question, “What do I do if I’m concerned the officer trying to stop me might not be a real police officer?”

In a press release Friday, the agency explained that this question often comes up when a police vehicle is unmarked, or because the stop is being made in a dark and unpopulated area.

"On rare occasion, PVPD receives reports that people have been stopped and during or afterward they question whether the stop was made by a real officer," the release said. "Sometimes this is because the officer does not behave or appear as expected, or the vehicle does not look like a police vehicle. If this occurs, please report it immediately."

According to the release, if an unmarked car is stopping you and you have a legitimate question or concern as to whether or not you are being stopped by an actual police officer, here is the best practice:

  • Turn on four-way hazard lights to notify the officer the driver will pull over;
  • Call 911 and ask the dispatcher to verify that it is an actual police officer (this may be done by verifying a vehicle description and location).
  • With your hazard lights turned on, drive to the nearest well-lit and populated area.
  • If the unmarked vehicle is operated by an officer wearing plain clothes, request that a uniformed officer respond to the scene.
  • You are permitted to ask to see proper Law Enforcement credentials or ask the officer or dispatch to send a supervisor to the scene.
  • Remain in your vehicle and do not make any sudden movements like reaching under your front seat. If it is nighttime, turn on your interior dome light for additional illumination.

Warning signs that a stop may be illegitimate include if the officer demands you pay a fine for a traffic violation during the traffic stop, attempts to get into the car with you, or fails to ask for routine paperwork like a driver’s license, registration, and insurance, the release said.

NO COVID-19 DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

Under Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-18, section 2.E, “No person shall be required to provide documentation or proof of their activities to justify their activities under this order.” PVPD law enforcement officers will not request documentation or proof that residents are complying with the order, and officers will not make traffic stops to verify compliance with the order.

PVPD also reminds residents, "If you see something, say something."

PVPD can be contacted at 928-772-9267 for non-emergencies, and 911 for emergencies. Residents can also call Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.

Information provided by Prescott Valley Police Department.

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