A new scam has law enforcement worried that members of their community may be putting their trust in the wrong people. Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt said people need to be careful.
“It’s easy for someone to buy a badge online and pretend to be a law enforcement officer,” Hieatt said.
Hieatt said people in the area are able to impersonate an officer simply by buying a kit online. The kit comes with a hat, jacket, and look-alike certificate for people to use to pretend to be an officer. Sheriff Hieatt said it is disheartening to see people attempt to scam members of the community by ripping off the people who are there to protect and serve.
“It’s bothering to us that with everything else we have, that we have to look out for someone who’s pretending to be an officer and pretending to be apart of the law enforcement community,” Hieatt said.
Hieatt said it is illegal to impersonate an officer. If you see something unusual, make sure you report it to your local law enforcement agency.
“Again, if anybody ever wonders if they’ve talked to someone who identified themselves as an officer, whether they are or not, to call your local law enforcement agencies, call 911, and say I’m speaking to someone or someone just came and identified themselves, and I want to know if they’re really a police officer or not,” Hieatt said.