Miscommunication leads to mistaking detective for police impersonator

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

Sequence of Events

5:48 p.m. Sheriff's Office detective calls dispatch of a traffic stop at Walnut and Seneca

5:57 p.m. Detective clears the traffic stop

6:54 p.m. Driver calls 911 to report possible police impersonator

6:54 p.m. Dispatchers call Kansas Highway Patrol to verify if a traffic stop was made near I-235 and Seneca but KHP deny a traffic stop in the area

6:54 p.m. Wichita Police officer assigned to follow up with driver

8:54 p.m. Wichita Police officer clears the call after taking report from the driver via phone

Stay up-to-date with KAKE News:

WICHITA, Kan. -- Wichita Police have confirmed that a legitimate traffic stop was made on Monday in the 3400 block of South Seneca.

According to Sedgwick County 911 reports, a Sheriff's detective called in a traffic stop at 5:48 p.m. near Seneca and Walnut. The traffic stop was cleared at 5:57 p.m.

The driver called 911 at 6:43 p.m. under the suspicion that a police impersonator had made the traffic stop.

"She says that she was just pulled over by an unmarked police car. She thinks it was a police impersonator," said a woman who called 911 for the driver.

Dispatchers believe the word 'just' was part of the confusion in confirming whether or not a traffic stop had been made by a law enforcement officer.

"The time difference from when she perceived the stop to happen and when it actually happened is what created that, to where we couldn't put them together sooner," said Kim Pennington, 911 interim director.

According to Capt. Greg Pollock, who reviewed the case, the detective spotted a car moving at an excessive speed near the I-235 and I-135 south interchange. The detective, who was in an unmarked vehicle with lights and sirens, followed the driver to the I-235 Seneca exit.

Under policy, the detective, who works in the property section of the Sheriff's office, is allowed to make a traffic stop. In this situation, he noted two violations with the driver, expired tags and exhibition of speed, but chose not to give the driver a citation.

"She was aware that her tags were expired. She knew that there were some issues with it. The lady was having some financial difficulties. He took that into consideration when he elected to give her a verbal warning," said Pollock.

Pollock said the detective was wearing an official jacket with the word 'Sheriff' on the front and the back, plus an official badge during the traffic stop. According to the driver, the detective did not provide his name or badge.

"He had a chain badge around his neck but I didn't really look at that either at the time. He said, 'You know why I pulled you over?' I'm like 'Yeah, my tag's expired, I know," said the driver.

The Sheriff's Office has reviewed this traffic stop and believe there was no misconduct.

Wichita Police advise people to call 911 if they are in doubt of a traffic stop. In addition, dispatchers advise people to immediately call 911 after or during an incident, while providing detailed information to assist in the investigation.

"I think the individual involved did the right thing by making a police report. She wasn't sure. I wish we could've got caught it a little bit sooner. It would've made everyone's lives a little bit easier and there wouldn't be such confusion," said Lt. Doug Nolte, Wichita Police.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
KAKE TV 1500 N. West Street Wichita, KS 67203-1323 (316) 943-4221
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 229319581 - kake.com/a?a=229319581
Gray Television, Inc.