A New York times article discusses the growing trend of people impersonating police officers. Across the country, criminals are donning badges and uniforms and claiming to be cops in order to gain the trust of unsuspecting victims.
In South Florida, seemingly an incubator of law-breaking innovation, police impersonators have become better organized and, most troubling to law enforcement officials, more violent. The practice is so common that the Miami-Dade Police Department has a Police Impersonator Unit.
Since the unit was established in 2007, it has arrested or had encounters with more than 80 phony officers in Miami-Dade County, and the frequency has increased in recent months, said Lt. Daniel Villanueva, who heads the unit.
Whether it’s traffic stops or home invasions, more and more people are buying fake handcuffs, badges, and sirens. Law enforcement teams are saying there needs to be a crackdown on the ease with which stores are permitted to sell such police replicas.