Officer impersonation has flourished in recent years, reports the Associated Press. “You wave a badge at someone and tell them to pull over and you’d be amazed at how many people are going to obey,” said Naftali Berrill, a psychologist who runs the New York Center for Neuropsychology and Forensic Behavioral Science. “It takes nerves of steel to pull this off; the average person couldn’t do it.”
Two men were charged this month with running a phony bounty hunting school where “graduates” used school-issued credentials to impersonate officers and get out of traffic tickets. A man from Long Island was sentenced last month for running a virtual one-man police department, complete with a car with sirens and a fake police station where he handcuffed victims to a chair. New York City police arrest about 100 suspects annually on charges of impersonating an officer. New York has a specialized unit, believed the only one in the U.S., dedicated to solving cases where a suspect impersonates an officer.