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


I Do Not Make Stuff Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my column, “Watergate analogies apply to Obama, not Trump,” that President Obama’s Justice Department planted a spy in the Trump campaign. I said I used the term “spy” because this was a counter-intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation, where the term informant would have been proper.

That statement has been brought ...

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

Social media recently showered a lot of likes and love on a high school pitcher in Minnesota whose team was playing in a regional final that would send the winning team to the state championship game.

After the last batter of the game struck out, the pitcher did something unheard of. Rather than spontaneously join his teammates in an on-field celebration, as is customary, the pitcher ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Packing Heat

“Are you leaving me?” asked my husband one night as he surveyed the contents of my closet on our bed.

“What? No!” I said. “Why would you think that?”

“Every single article of clothing you own is laid out on our bed,” he replied. “So I have to assume you are either leaving me or you have joined the armed services and if that’s the ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness