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Old 12-02-2010, 02:57 PM   #1
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Impersonating a police officer?

I have a neon green vest I got a while back, It's got the word "Sherrif" printed on the front and back, I've worn it a few times while I've been out on my bike at night, could it be considered impersonating a police officer? I know most cases where police impersonation come in, the person is usually wearing a fake (or real) uniform, flashing a badge, and/or identifying themselves as a police officer, but could the vest be considered the same thing?

The courtesy officer in my apartments mentioned it, he says he "wasn't sure" but I don't see how it would be any different from those tshirts that say police or dea or fbi on them.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #2
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:00 PM   #3
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Im not sure if its the same but I have some old Police uniforms that I got from my uncle who is the DA. I was going to use them for Halloween but he said it was against the law.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
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i wouldnt tempt fate, but thats just me.
+1 most probably wont care but then you have those dicks that were nerds in HS then became a LEO and they think that they have everything to prove
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:15 PM   #5
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+1 most probably wont care but then you have those dicks that were nerds in HS then became a LEO and they think that they have everything to prove
This is what I'm worried about. I already looked up the section of the penal code and it says "anything that bears an official insignia" but I'm sure I'd run in to at least one LEO who will misinterpret the law, or just won't care.

I guess I might just cover the words "sherrif" with a patch of reflective vinyl or something.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:15 PM   #6
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http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.u...E.37.htm#37.12
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr F. View Post
This is what I'm worried about. I already looked up the section of the penal code and it says "anything that bears an official insignia" but I'm sure I'd run in to at least one LEO who will misinterpret the law, or just won't care.

I guess I might just cover the words "sherrif" with a patch of reflective vinyl or something.
just cover the " f " up
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr F. View Post
This is what I'm worried about. I already looked up the section of the penal code and it says "anything that bears an official insignia" but I'm sure I'd run in to at least one LEO who will misinterpret the law, or just won't care.

I guess I might just cover the words "sherrif" with a patch of reflective vinyl or something.
or you could get a reflective vest from Harbor freight for like 5 bucks.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyt915 View Post
Im not sure if its the same but I have some old Police uniforms that I got from my uncle who is the DA. I was going to use them for Halloween but he said it was against the law.
from the link posted, this section:

(1)**the person makes, provides to another person, or possesses a card, document, badge, insignia, shoulder emblem, or other item bearing an insignia of a law enforcement agency that identifies a person as a peace officer or a reserve law enforcement officer; and...


It appears as though, if the uniforms still have the deparment insignias on them, that you uncle, the DA, has already broken the law. Guess I could be reading it wrong. Were they uniforms for a dramatic purpose or display?
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by less_than_coop View Post
from the link posted, this section:

(1)**the person makes, provides to another person, or possesses a card, document, badge, insignia, shoulder emblem, or other item bearing an insignia of a law enforcement agency that identifies a person as a peace officer or a reserve law enforcement officer; and...


It appears as though, if the uniforms still have the deparment insignias on them, that you uncle, the DA, has already broken the law. Guess I could be reading it wrong. Were they uniforms for a dramatic purpose or display?
No, the department changed uniform colors and designs this was one of the old uniforms. It did still have the patches that said the police department
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:39 PM   #12
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it is illegal and a class b misdemeanor... aka you could face JAIL time and/or a fine which would well exceed the cost of buying a reflective vest... not to mention a cop who pulled you over for it would likely find other things to cite you for because of your disregard for whatever you want to call it...
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:19 PM   #13
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Why take the risk at all??? Just buy another reflective vest.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:56 PM   #14
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Impersonating a false police officer is a somewhat fact specific crime.

Here are some relevant findings from a Texas appellate court:
Quote:
The question here is whether the letters D.P.S. on a hat are an insignia identifying the wearer as a peace officer. We conclude that they are. Officer Ricketson testified that it is commonly understood that the letters D.P.S. stand for Department of Public Safety. That general understanding is further evidenced by the testimony of the two teenage girls who told the court that they believed Appellant was a Department of Public Safety officer because he had D.P.S. on his hat. We believe that in Texas the letters D.P.S. are ordinarily associated in the public mind with the state law enforcement agency just as the letters F.B.I. are understood to mean Federal Bureau of Investigation. And absent evidence to the contrary, a person might reasonably assume that one wearing a hat or cap with those letters was a peace officer. It was clearly Appellant's intent in wearing the hat to convey that impression. That is precisely the conduct the statute was enacted to prevent. We believe, however, that even ignoring Appellant's representation of himself as a D.P.S. undercover agent, there is legally sufficient evidence that the hat with D.P.S. on it in and of itself identified Appellant as a peace officer.
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It was not the legislature's intention to criminalize the mere possession of a coffee mug or T-shirt bearing the initials or emblem of the F.B.I., D.P.S., A.T.F., or other law enforcement agencies. It is a defense to prosecution under Section 37.12 that the item identifying the defendant as a peace officer was used or intended for use exclusively for decorative purposes or in an artistic or dramatic presentation. TEX. PEN.CODE ANN. 37.12(b)(3) (Vernon 2003).
The case is Hudson v. State, an unpublished opinion out of the 12th Court of Appeals.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:58 PM   #15
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can i has it?
we can go buy some red and blue lights and chase people down the freeway and make them pull over....LOL
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:09 AM   #16
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just stencil 'I shot the" across it...
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:19 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniG0D View Post
it is illegal and a class b misdemeanor... aka you could face JAIL time and/or a fine which would well exceed the cost of buying a reflective vest... not to mention a cop who pulled you over for it would likely find other things to cite you for because of your disregard for whatever you want to call it...
exactly! another reflective vest is probably $3.00 !! quit the "wanna be" act and buy another, seriously, its so not worth the hassle or comments when another leo comes up to say hello and then within 2 questions or 5 seconds, your pick, find out your just a guy impersonating.
Even if you never ever say "I am a sheriff" with it on, it implies and that is enough to get yer handed to you, by either the "good guys" and the "bad guys" out there too !!!


end result of the above gibberish = so not worth it, toss the vest.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:52 AM   #18
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In order to be I'm personating, you have to be trying to get someone to "submit to your will due to the misuse / misinterpretation of a uniform" are the elements of that crime
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:37 AM   #19
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@wackjum - I think the key part of this is "It was clearly Appellant's intent in wearing the hat to convey that impression."

@OP - just don't do it.

dressing up like a cop for Halloween (or movie, etc) is unlikely to cause any problem but wearing it just out and about is asking for trouble.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:04 AM   #20
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Just get a black sharpie and write NOT below the sherrif
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