Last Saturday, a man in Memphis, Tennessee thought it was a good idea to impersonate a police officer. In the early hours of the morning on January 26th, 46-year-old Tony Newsom attached “Shelby County Officer” stickers onto his car, hooked up his smart phone, and headed out in his black SUV.
Newsom used the smart phone to flash red and blue strobe lights in the middle of the SUV’s windshield using the “police lights” feature of an app. He proceeded to find a victim on Elvis Presley Boulevard, and used the convincing lights to pull over another car. However, imagine his surprise when an off-duty, but still uniformed police officer exited the vehicle. The cop intended to alert the person that pulled him over that he too was part of the police force, but when he saw Newsom hide his phone, he immediately called for support. When more Memphis Police Department officers arrived on the scene, they proceeded to search the fake cop’s vehicle, finding within the car a gun box with an empty holster, ammunition, a receipt for handcuffs, a sex toy, and a MPD patch on the dashboard. “Shelby County Officer” stickers were found alongside the car’s body.
Newsom was arrested, charged with violation of the light law, criminal impersonation, improper display of registration, and illegal use of flashing blue light on motor vehicles. However, it is unclear if the fake cop had the chance to catch any real victims before being caught by the MPD. We find this story completely believable now that there is an app for almost everything. However, just because an app for police lights exists, doesn’t mean that it’s meant to turn rogue and become a vigilante. We thought this was common sense, but if it’s not, here’s a bit of advice: don’t impersonate the police! Unless it’s Halloween.