Wichita Police say a man accused of impersonating a police officer on Facebook has made vague threats against the department.
Sgt. Bruce Watts says 28 year-old Jared Hodges, who was arrested Wednesday on impersonation charges, contacted Lt. Joe Schroeder with the department.
Lt. Schroeder reported that Hodges was upset with media coverage of his arrest and that the department would regret releasing the information about his arrest. Shroeder reported that Hodges then threatened to "retaliate" against the department.
The incident was reported Thursday afternoon. It's unclear if Hodges could face additional charges for his phone call.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wichita Police arrest a man accused of impersonating an officer on Facebook. Jared Hodges, 28, was jailed for posing as a police officer on Wednesday. He was arrested after Facebook users complained to the real police.
KAKE's Jared Cerullo spoke with Hodges by phone today, in which Hodges denied the Facebook page was even his. Under the 'occupation' tab, Hodges listed "Wichita Police Officer - City of Wichita." Detectives paid him a visit at his home on Wednesday and found probable cause to arrest him.
On the phone with us, Hodges first claimed that his Facebook page had been hacked. Then he said it was never his Facebook page to begin with.
"It wasn't your facebook page?" KAKE's Jared Cerullo asked.
"Nope," Hodges responded.
"So If I've had Facebook conversations with you before and you've left comments on my own Facebook page, that wasn't you?" asked Cerullo
"Nope. That wasn't me," said Hodges.
Police say they see a steady number of people who claim to be police officers for a number of reasons.
"A lot of times, it's for personal gain. They're trying to impress somebody," said Lt. Joe Schroeder. "Generally, when they're doing it, they're not behaving in a way you would expect a police officer to behave."
Those are the allegations in this case, too. Schroeder says citizens complained that Hodges was claiming to be a police officer while making derogatory racial statements during online chat sessions.
"People have seen this on your Facebook page since October," Cerullo asked Hodges on the phone. "So are you saying you never ever saw this on your Facebook page to begin with?"
"No. My Facebook page is up. I reported an unauthorized Facebook page that was using my pictures, my photos, everything."
But that wasn't the story when we spoke with Hodges' coworkers at his real job at a fast food restaurant.
"I heard that he has put it on his Facebook, not that he has personally impersonated one," said a woman who identified herself as the shift manager. "All I know is that he just put it on his Facebook as his career... as a joke."
Impersonation of a police officer is only a misdemeanor crime, so Hodges would likely not face jail time over this. However, KAKE News looked him up on the Kansas Department of Corrections website and found Hodges has at least four DUI convictions and a conviction for driving while a habilitual violator.