Two cases of traffic stops on Interstate 95 conducted by men apparently impersonating law enforcement officers has the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office issuing a warning to motorists.
In the first incident, a nurse from a Jacksonville-area hospital was heading north to work from St. Johns County when red and blue lights came on behind her, the Sheriff's Office said. A white man about 50 with short or shaved hair asked for her driver's license, saying she had been speeding. He wore a tan uniform with a name tag that read "Moyer" or "Moer" but didn't have a gun or gun belt. The man advised her of the cost of the ticket but said she could “consider this a warning” and gave her license back.
The woman reported the incident to the Sheriff's Office, which reminds drivers that its deputies do not wear tan uniforms.
The second incident also involved a nurse from a Jacksonville-area hospital, the Sheriff's Office said. She was traveling south on I-95 on her way home from work when red and blue lights came on from a car behind her. She said the vehicle looked like a dark four-door Chevrolet, and the man who got out was a thin-framed shorter black man wearing glasses, a striped polo shirt and black hat. He identified himself as a Jacksonville detective and was wearing a “JSO Detective” ID around his neck.
He told her he was stopping her for speeding and asked for her driver’s license. She said he did not appear to wear a gun and never showed a badge, then handed back her driver's license before exiting at County Road 210, the Sheriff's Office said.
The Sheriff's Office advises drivers who have concerns about an apparent police traffic stop to activate their hazard lights and drive to a well-lit and populated area. The driver can call the local law enforcement agency to ask if an actual unit is attempting to stop them. Legitimate officers will have an official badge and credentials, generally displayed or readily available.
The St. Johns County and Jacksonville sheriff’s offices are investigating both incidents. The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information on them or anyone using unlawfully installed police equipment to contact (904) 824-8304.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549