Stay Alert: 2 Fake Officers Arrested in Separate Incidents in Tuscaloosa County
Two men were arrested this week and charged with felonies for impersonating police officers in separate incidents in Tuscaloosa County.
Two offenses don't establish a trend, but drivers and citizens should stay alert and make sure anyone presenting themselves as a law enforcement officer is who they claim to be.
According to court documents obtained by the Thread, the first case took place back on August 24th, when a man was robbed by a man claiming to be a police officer.
Investigators say the victim cashed a check inside a grocery store in West Alabama, drove home and was followed by 38-year-old Allan Brent Faulkner, who reportedly had blue lights flashing on his front windshield when he stopped at the victim's residence.
Faulkner reportedly told the driver, who was Hispanic, that he would go to jail if he did not hand over his ID. When the driver got his wallet out, Faulkner allegedly grabbed it, took it back to his own vehicle, and then returned it - missing $400 cash. He reportedly told the victim "other" police were on the way and then left the scene with the money.
Investigators with TPD were able to identify Faulkner using surveillance footage and caught up with him Monday. He was arrested and charged with impersonating a peace officer and first-degree theft of property.
In an unrelated incident this Tuesday, September 5th, a driver called the Coaling Police Department and said he believed he had been pulled over by a fake police officer.
The impersonator, reportedly 32-year-old Joshua Dale Salters, got behind the would-be victim and lit up red and blue lights and a police siren as they traveled on Dudley Road. The driver felt something was off when Salters allegedly parked in front of his stopped vehicle, not behind it, and then eventually waved for the driver to leave the "traffic stop."
The driver contacted Coaling Police, who found Salters at a nearby gas station with the lights still activated.
Salters was allegedly carrying two handguns, illegal drugs that were not specified in the court documents, counterfeit currency and police equipment including a Tuscaloosa Police training shirt and a badge, plus a set of brass knuckles, which are illegal.
The 32-year-old Salters was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, possession of brass knuckles, possession of a forged instrument for the counterfeit cash and impersonating a police officer. He remained in the Tuscaloosa County Jail Thursday afternoon on a combined $30,5000 bond.
Stephanie Taylor, a spokesperson for the Tuscaloosa Police Department, said TPD officers are hard to convincingly fake.
They introduce themselves and immediately give the reason for the stop, they are almost in TPD uniform and even those who are in plain clothes will be wearing a TPD badge. Almost all traffic stops will be made by an officer a marked Chevrolet Tahoe or Dodge Charger, or a rider on one of the Traffic Division’s Harley Davidson motorcycles.
"If you do get pulled over, drive to a safe, well-lit spot and observe traffic laws," Taylor said. "The officer will understand what you’re doing if you don’t speed up and stop at the first available safe spot."