CITIZEN SAFETY ADVISORY
At approximately 2230 hours on February 20, 2016 Deputies made contact with a Victim in reference to a vehicle with a flashing red light acting as if it were an emergency vehicle.
Victim stated that she was going home from Hope with some friends on Highway 73 west, approximately halfway between Hope and Crossroads. She stated that a truck with a flashing red light on the dash board came up behind them at a quick rate of speed and then drove very close to the rear of their vehicle.
She stated that they pulled over to let the vehicle pass them but he pulled in behind them like he was trying to pull them over. She stated that they sat there for a few minutes and no one got out of the truck behind them so a friend of hers got out of their vehicle.
She stated that as soon as he opened the door the vehicle behind them drove off. She stated that it appeared to be a white Chevrolet Silverado. She stated that she couldn't see anyone in the truck and couldn't get a license plate number. She stated that it was odd to her because when they drove by she could hear what she described as "clown" or "carnival" music coming from the Silverado. She stated that the truck then accelerated and drove off so quickly that they never saw it again on their way to Saratoga.
As Sheriff, I want to remind all citizens to be cautious when a situation like this occurs, my first suggestion to citizens would be to call 911 and tell the dispatcher your location and ask if there is a Deputy in the area trying to make a traffic stop on your vehicle. If not, under no circumstances stop for the vehicle and ask the dispatcher to dispatch a deputy or other law enforcement officer to your location.
Hempstead County Sheriff’s office vehicles are clearly marked, we do have some unmarked vehicles however they are well lighted with blue lights not red. The unmarked vehicles do not normally make traffic stops unless it is an emergency situation and even then if you are concerned that the vehicle is not a law enforcement vehicle follow the same information listed above. If it is in fact a Deputy or other law enforcement officer they will understand.
In this incident a RED flashing light was used, Hempstead County Sheriff’s Vehicles use BLUE lights, as do Arkansas State Police. Red lights are commonly used by EMS, Firemen and First responders. We live in a world today where criminals use every means necessary to commit crimes and that includes impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer or a Law Enforcement Vehicle.
I ask that you be aware that incidents like this sometimes occur and to take every precaution to make sure that the vehicle trying to pull you over is a legitimate law enforcement vehicle operated by a uniformed sworn Law Enforcement officer.
If anyone has any information or has observed a white Silverado pick-up displaying a flashing red light with a siren, or some other type of public address system capable of playing music in any part of the county please contact the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office @ 870-777-6727or call 911.
As always if you are in doubt, please call 911 and report any incident that may cause you to become a victim of a crime.
James A. Singleton, Sheriff
Hempstead County, Arkansas
I have included two Arkansas State Statutes that deal with displaying emergency lighting on vehicles
Arkansas State Statue on Blue Lights;
5-77-201. Blue light or blue lens cap sales.
(a) (1) It is unlawful to sell or transfer a blue light or blue lens cap to any person other than a law enforcement officer or a county coroner.
(2) It is unlawful for a person other than a law enforcement officer or a county coroner to buy a blue light or blue lens cap.
(b) Before selling a blue light or blue lens cap, the seller shall require the buyer to provide identification that legally demonstrates that the buyer is a law enforcement officer or a county coroner.
(c) Any sale of a blue light or blue lens cap shall be reported to the Department of Arkansas State Police on a form prescribed by the department.
(d) Upon conviction, a person who violates this section is guilty of a Class D felony.
(e) As used in this section:
(1) "Blue lens cap" means a lens cap designed to produce a blue color of light when light from a device designed for an emergency vehicle passes through the lens cap; and
(2) "Blue light" means any operable device that:
(A) Emits a blue color of light;
(B) Is designed for use by an emergency vehicle or is similar in appearance to a device designed for use by an emergency vehicle; and
(C) Can be operated by use of the vehicle's battery, the vehicle's electrical system, or a dry cell battery.
5-77-204. Emergency lights and sirens.
(a) It is unlawful for a person who has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or has been found guilty of a felony or domestic battering in the third degree, § 5-26-305, or a person required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act of 1997, § 12-12-901 et seq., to knowingly:
(1) Purchase or possess an emergency vehicle light or siren with a purpose to install or use the emergency vehicle light or siren on a motor vehicle that reasonably appears to be or that mimics a law enforcement vehicle;
(2) Install or use an emergency vehicle light or siren on a motor vehicle that reasonably appears to be or that mimics a law enforcement vehicle; or
(3) Operate a motor vehicle that reasonably appears to be or that mimics a law enforcement vehicle and the motor vehicle has an emergency vehicle light or siren installed on the motor vehicle or in use on the motor vehicle.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was a certified law enforcement officer acting within the scope of his or her duty.
(c) As used in this section:
(1) "Emergency vehicle light" means a device that emits a light of any color and that is:
(A) Designed for use by an emergency vehicle; or
(B) Similar in appearance to a device designed for use by an emergency vehicle;
(2) "Law enforcement vehicle" means any vehicle owned or operated by a law enforcement agency; and
(3) "Siren" means an acoustic or electronic device producing a loud or wailing sound as a signal or warning.
(d) A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.