PHOENIX- A police impersonator thought it was pulling over a yellow Mustang. Instead, he ended up being pulled over by state troopers, who were driving the Mustang as an undercover car.
Matthew Allen Disbro, Age 44, was arrested Wednesday for impersonating a police officer. His black, unmarked Dodge Charger had police style lights, siren and a radio scanner.
According to a DPS news release, troopers noticed the Charger equipped with law enforcement style lights in the rear window, even though the car was registered to a private citizen. The impersonator eventually turned on its fake emergency lights and drove alongside the state troopers in the yellow Mustang. The release said the impersonator was yelling and waving for the troopers to pull over. The roles were quickly reversed when the troopers activated their own lights to pull over the Mesa man.
Disbro was wearing the uniform of a security guard and was armed according to DPS.
We went to Rob Robinson, a former Phoenix police officer and a current police practices expert.
Normally Robinson says to check the cop car itself, to see if the lights are in the proper place and attached in the correct way.
However when it comes to a fake like the one Disbro was driving, “I can tell you I would stop for that vehicle,” Robinson said.
Robinson said to trust your gut, to call 9-1-1 if you feel suspicious to make sure the person pulling you over is an actual member of law enforcement. Robison also recommends pulling over in a well-lit area before stopping.
“This is the perfect way to respond to a police officer that is stopping you. Your doors are locked, your emergency flashers are on and you got the window down just enough where you can communicate with the officer but I can’t reach in and unlock the door.” Robinson said.
Another way to pick out a fake--look at the uniform.
“A name tag is very important. Along with shoulder patches, frequently officers have placards on the front that say police, gun belts, that kind of thing," Robinson said. "Don’t ever be shy to ask the officer to see their identification. They are going to be sympathetic, explain why you are being stopped and ask you for certain documents. If there is a discussion other than that, and they ask you to immediately get out of your vehicle, lock your door, roll up your window and call 911."
Authorities want to know if you have had contact with the suspect and have been stopped by a Dodge Charger with law enforcement style emergency lights. Please contact AZDPS at 602-644-5805 if you have information.