Cop Wannabe in Trouble for Stopping ‘Irritating’ Drivers

     SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) – A Missouri law enforcement academy student allegedly impersonated a police officer by pulling over drivers who annoyed him so he could berate their driving habits, prosecutors say.
     Authorities charged Jacob Trammell, 20, with two Class A misdemeanors for false impersonation of a law enforcement officer and using blue lamp lights without a permit.
     Greene County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call on April 20 about a man driving a 2006 Dodge Charger with flashing red and blue lights in the front windshield and no siren, according to a probable cause statement.
     A witness told police that a gray Dodge Charger with flashing red and blue lights approached his car from behind while he was driving, so he pulled over and let the car pass, assuming that it was a law enforcement vehicle. The witness then grew suspicious and reported the car’s license number to the sheriff’s office.
     The next day, deputies interviewed Trammell, who told them that he has been a student at the Missouri Sheriff’s Association Law Enforcement Academy since January. Trammell said he had installed flashing lights in the windshield and rear of his mother’s Dodge Charger late last year.
     Trammell blamed the April incident on accidentally tripping the light switch with his knee while driving. But he admitted to deputies that he had activated the lights to “correct traffic issues” on so many occasions that he could not recall them all, according to sheriff’s records.
     Trammell had allegedly flashed the pseudo-police lights when he wanted to assist people with traffic accidents, persuade people to follow traffic laws and even at times when a citizen’s driving “irritated” him, according to the statement.
     In one such incident, Trammell allegedly activated his lights and stopped a truck driver for driving erratically on icy roads in February.
     “Jacob said he activated his lights, conducted the stop, told the driver what he thought about his driving, and then he got back in his car and drove off,” according to police records.
     Trammell also used the lights to stop a woman on Northbound U.S. 65, where he “yelled at the person he had stopped about her driving and then ran back to his car and left,” according to court documents.
     Trammell admitted to deputies that he stopped a black woman on Highway 65 but later told them that he may not actually have pulled her over because “I know all about racial profiling.”
     Throughout the interview, Trammell acknowledged that he knew it was illegal to activate the lights, pull people over and falsely portray himself as a police officer, according to the probable cause statement.
     When deputies asked Trammel whether he thought that the drivers he pulled over believed that he was a law enforcement officer, he told them yes and that “having the car and the lights helped.”
     Trammell faces up to a year in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000 for each Class A misdemeanor. His bond is $2,500, and arraignment is scheduled for June 8.
     Trammell does not have an attorney listed in court documents.

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