Police are warning drivers against using 112 instead of 911 during an emergency. If the red and blue lights flash when driving at night, drivers should pull over in a well-lit area.
This information is the opposite of what a 2013 post circulating Facebook tells drivers to do. It is a story about a teen driver traversing the roads after dark. The story continues to praise the young woman for heeding her parents’ advice to call 112 when the police lights are flashing behind her. Supposedly, her communication with dispatch she indicated there was an unmarked car behind her and she would pull over in a lit area. As the story continues, dispatch told her to remain in her vehicle, and they were sending officers out to apprehend the fake police officers.
NBC affiliate WKYC 3, June 20, 2017 wanted to get to the bottom of this theory so “we sent the ‘VERIFY’ team to find out: Should you dial 112 when you are pulled over by an unmarked police car?”
They discovered after speaking with three law enforcement agencies that 911 will be the best course of action for anyone. The team tried 112 themselves while driving on a highway in Cleveland and it went through. However, they were told it is highly unlikely using 112 will work in all areas or with all carriers.
In 2008, CNN offers an in-depth account of what a driver should do in the event a police vehicle is asking a driver to pull over. They mention it is easy for a determined person to obtain a uniform, lights, and car resembling local law enforcement.
What should a person do if unsure an officer is legitimate? Many police agencies indicate their officers are more than happy to follow a vehicle to a local law enforcement office building. Proceed there driving the speed limit. Do not attempt to violate the law as there could be negative repercussions.
It is advisable to check with the local police department about their policies about how they expect citizens in their community to respond when being followed by a suspected someone impersonating a police officer.
Communications Officer Postigan of the Gresham Police Department in Oregon recommends using 911 to verify whether or not the vehicle has called dispatch to indicate they are attempting to detain the driver. During an interview with this writer on July 16, 2018, he recommended drivers pull over in a well-populated area for maximum safety.
If there is a need to call 911, or Google the local police department, it is important not to handle a cell phone while driving as distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents on the road. Ask another person in the vehicle to call or find the location. In the event a driver is alone, they are advised to use Google’s voice search feature, Bixby on newer Galaxy phones, Apple’s SIRI instead.
Written by Cathy Milne
NBC Affiliate WKYC 3: VERIFY | Should you dial 112 when you are pulled over by unmarked police car?
CNN: Car pulling you over — is that a real cop?
Facebook: Rick Loebach’s post; February 14, 2013; EVERYBODY SHOULD READ THIS!!!!!!!!!
Gresham Police Department: Interview with Communications Officer Postigan; July 16, 2018
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of raymondclarkeimages’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License