Pulling You Over… or Putting One Over on You?


The other day on the Taconic Parkway, I noticed an SUV being pulled over by an unmarked police car with dashboard lights flashing. In my rear-view mirror, I could see a uniformed officer exit his vehicle, also an SUV.

Other than thinking it had been a while since I last spotted an unmarked police car pulling someone over, I thought nothing of the sighting. Until the next day.

That’s when I saw on Facebook a post describing a “victim” whose car was pulled over on the Taconic when a car with flashing lights pulled up behind them. This was on the same day I saw an unmarked car; however, this was in a different location from where I had been. A few other things were different about this reported incident: The person exiting the car with flashing red grille lights wore a down jacket instead of a uniform, held a pistol in his hand, and “demanded the victim’s wallet and cell phone.” The quotes are from a Crime Bulletin issued by the New York State Police, and posted by the Yorktown Police Department on its Facebook page.

Sign Up for E-News

Before we proceed further, a word of thanks to Yorktown Police Chief Robert Noble, who is the very model of law enforcement at its best, and without whom this column of valuable tips would not be possible.

For starters, Chief Noble asked me to make it clear to anyone reading this, and passing it along to others, that there is very little likelihood of your being pulled over by a criminal posing as a police officer. It is a crime committed, as the chief puts it, “very infrequently.”

Nevertheless, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Below are several steps that Chief Noble recommends you keep in mind to prevent having the wool pulled over your eyes when someone with lights flashing—but without a badge—tries to pull you over to the side of the road with crime in mind. Remember also that it’s not just about being pulled over. In fact, the victim in the aforementioned Crime Bulletin already was on the shoulder when the bad guy spotted an opportunity.

If you are pulled over or approached while on the shoulder by someone whose vehicle does not have police markings, here is valuable information to know and follow:

  • Call 9-1-1. Give the dispatcher your vehicle make, model, license plate. Ask if there is an unmarked patrol car working in the area.
  • Activate your hazard lights and proceed within speed limit to a public place or an occupied public building (e.g., police or fire department, or hospital) and stop.
  • Unmarked police vehicles are equipped with full-on professional lighting, such as red or blue LEDs with a white strobe. They also have a siren or air horn to alert the motorist being pulled over. In some cases, there also is a very bright white light on the police officer’s driver-side window, which officers call a “tear drop light.” Chief Noble notes also that “officers who utilize good tactics prefer to pull over vehicle and traffic violators in a location that provides good sight lines and is well illuminated.”
  • If the unmarked vehicle stopping you has lesser or dimmer lighting, you should be skeptical. Official police vehicles also tend to be newer models, so if the person pulling you over is driving an older vehicle, or one that looks beat up or poorly lit, follow the first two tips.
  • If you already are on the shoulder due to mechanical problems or for another reason, stay inside your vehicle, with doors locked and engine running. If you suspect a motorist pulling behind you may have bad intentions, call 9-1-1 and attempt to drive off when it is safe to do so.
  • Use proper judgment and trust your instincts. 

Drive safe, everyone.

Bruce Apar is chief content officer of Google Partner Agency, Pinpoint Marketing & Design, as well as an actor and a regular contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce the Blog on social media. Reach him at bapar@pinpointmarketingdesign.com or 914-275-6887.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Cuomo Shores Up His Left Flank (at Our Expense)

We keep hearing how the Republicans are bought and paid for by the NRA. I recently explained to you the truth about this myth. The reality is the Democrats are the ones who are bought and paid for. Not by the NRA, but the environmentalists.

You thought I was going to say public sector unions, didn’t you? Well, they own both parties in New York. However, the environmentalists pull the ...

The Hatch Act and Immigration Updates

This is for information purposes only. So, when you see headlines like the recent “Kellyanne Conway cited for two violations of the Hatch Act,” you will have a working knowledge of what it means. First off, what is the Hatch Act? This has nothing to do with Orrin Hatch, senator from Utah. Simply put, it states one cannot advocate for or against candidates while serving in an official ...

The ‘Feminist’ President ... Ha!

Incredibly, it wasn’t until 1987 that Congress finally acknowledged the part women have played in the great movements of American history, declaring March to be National Women’s History Month.

And each year since, as March rolls around, U.S. presidents have stood at the lectern, extolling the virtues of American women. In President Trump’s statement, released last week, he ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

A Half-Baked Column

“I think it’s time we retired this oven,” I said to my husband as I displayed a sheet of blackened sweet potato fries. “Even the dog won’t eat these.”

“Sure he will,” he said, tossing some fries on the floor. The dog immediately sucked them down.

“Not my point,” I said.

We had known that our oven was on its last burners for ...

When It's Not OK to Ask If Everything's OK

There is this thing that I do that annoys the heck out of my family. Well, to be honest, there are a lot of things I do that annoy the heck out of my family, but I am thinking of one thing in particular.

Whenever someone is in the bathroom for what I determine to be an abnormally long period of time, I stand outside the bathroom door and yell,


I ...

I'm All Pumped Up

This time last year, I struggled with my New Year’s resolution to go to the gym.

This year, I have made significant progress. I am going to the gym on a semi-regular basis. And by semi-regular, I mean, I go often enough that I actually remember where it’s located between visits.

The bad news, however, is that my workouts are just, how would you say it? Lame. Yes, they’re ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

South Putnam Animal Hospital, Mahopac

PCDOH Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic

Health & Wellness

Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

South Putnam Animal Hospital, Mahopac

PCDOH Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic

Health & Wellness

Sun, March 25

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, Yorktown Heights

Holy Week at First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown

Religions And Spirituality

NYSEG Needs to Be Investigated

March 22, 2018

[Editor’s note: This letter exceeds the maximum word count (300 words) allowed by Mahopac News, but due to the content, we have made an exception to that rule.]

To the editor,

Friday, after seven days without electrical power, I contacted the office of the Putnam County executive where I found a sympathetic ear willing to prod New York State Gas and Electric (NYSEG) to restore ...