Why Are So Many People Impersonating the Police?

There have been numerous stories recently of people who impersonated a police officer for one reason or another. As I am constantly seeing these stories I am left to wonder a few things.

Why does it seem that police do not understand why individuals might not surrender immediately to them when it is possible they may not, in fact, be a police officer?

The widespread skepticism of claims to authority was nudged awake when Trayvon Martin was murdered by a man, George Zimmerman, who asserted a position of unwarranted authority over the young man before killing him. Although it is not clear if Zimmerman represented himself as acting in any official capacity, it does raise reasonable doubt in the public over whether claims of authority should be immediately yielded to.

Any body could counterfeit the costume or credentials necessary. Yet besides those impersonating the police, there are plainclothes police that raise skepticism in citizens. When dealing with a clearly aggressive individual making some claim to authority over your life and actions, it is only natural to be skeptical and defensive. These are the instincts of self-preservation we are all endowed with on our earthly arrival.

And when you are told that cops are great all of your life, seeing a cop act like a complete maniac may provide so much cognitive dissonance that it becomes nearly impossible to recognize actual authority as such. In cases where the person has not committed any crimes, or at least unknowingly or merely petty victimless ones, believing the crazed and costumed (or not) guy with a gun may not be quite right is incredibly reasonable. Add fear, anxiety and the intensity of the situation, and there is little doubt that a cops identity or actions may often be in question for very good and rational reasons.

This is why it is important that police first make the greatest possible attempt to de-escalate every situation, so the facts and perceptions of both sides can be clarified in hopes of coming to a peaceful resolution. It is also why it is absolutely necessary that any officer immediately complies to any request for information about the officer, as per our guaranteed rights. No officer should assume that their status is clear to, or understood by, any subjects they are dealing with. There are reasonable grounds for any body who even casually reads the news to be unsure if the person asserting authority and/or aggressing towards them in a heated situation is actually legally authorized to do so.

Although it may just be that police impersonations are now being more widely reported, despite historical comparisons, it seems to be a fairly common issue. So, why are so many people impersonating police officers?

From the standpoint of the impersonator, if you can get away with it, the opportunity to be above the law may be irresistible. Whether the person just wishes to exercise authority and dominion over others, or plans to use the special police powers to commit a crime, the appeal is the same. Those special police powers that allow police to act above and outside the law are an intoxicating lure. No other position in society gives you the ability to act without concern for laws and social values. Which, when you think about it, is the same reason many people decide to become actual police officers.

This should raise a red flag for anyone fond of critical thinking. Should there ever be a position in society that grants certain privileged individuals access to behaviors and justifications beyond the ken of their fellow citizens? Are some things just so powerful that they are not worth their price no matter what else they may accomplish? Can we really have any reasonable expectation that we can create systems and institutions with such incredible capacity for exploitation and abuse and not see them veer towards their most obvious outcomes? Do we dare to create for ourselves a super-virus in order that it may kill some less powerful viruses?

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Though we can clearly see why the attraction of impersonating (and/or being) police would be so prevalent amongst the unscrupulous, how is it that they can so often get away with it? The chances of succeeding must be high enough that the gambit is worth a try. What makes it so easy, then? Are people just that stupid?

Children believe in Santa Claus, not because they are stupid, but because they are immersed in an information environment that constantly confirms and validates the existence of the jolly fat guy. They might almost be more stupid not to, if literal interpretation of sensory input is to be trusted. Children are generally not yet adept at overriding those perceptions with critical thinking. And thanks to our rigged compulsory education system and oligarchy-owned major media, most adults are not adept at doing so either. Not because they are stupid, but because they are moved by the momentum of their environment in profound ways.

So when we are barraged from birth with a manufactured message about police and other forms of authority, a message that speaks of the idea or symbol constructed from official narratives and not the actual reality of those systems, we become susceptible to a sort of unconscious faith in them. By having absorbed a lifetime of signals regarding what authority should be, we often become blind to what it actually is. We have created a proxy or analog of authority that is constantly being validated by new information. Media and government officials constantly confirm the righteousness of these idols. Before long the actuality of authority is replaced by dogmatism, making truth and its proponents the perceived enemies of society.

After enough time has passed it is not even necessary to intentionally reinforce this fallacious worldview, or for it to be steered by conscious will. Belief itself creates perpetual motion, especially where a feedback loop of confirmation bias is firmly in place. The widespread ideology of the infallibility of police and other authoritarians becomes a sufficient fuel for feeding the fires of the police state. There is likely no longer anybody responsible for doing this left, it is just happening. We are caught in the ideological momentum of faith in authority so thoroughly that it cannot be stopped from within the system. An object in motion will remain in motion until an external force acts upon it. The object will, of course (if it has even the slightest instincts or volition), attempt to circumnavigate collision with such a force, yet the impermanence of all things means that it will eventually become necessary or inevitable.

There is currently so much momentum behind these authoritarian ideologies that they have made us vulnerable to the very problems they claim to exist to alleviate. Our faith in authority makes us sitting ducks not just for abuse by those who would imitate it, but by the thing itself. The most likely reason people seem to be increasingly impersonating police is probably just a by-product of an unwavering faith in authority itself.

Perhaps we should learn to see the trend of impersonating the police for what it really is, a harbinger of just how shaky and subject to abuse and corruption our system intrinsically is. And even more alarming, how much worse it might become. It already has an unknown, yet vast, amount of energy stored in its momentum. Energy is never lost, but only transferred. Left to itself, this systemic authoritarian machine is heading for a grand collision with reality. We can blindly await that impact or we can can begin transferring that energy ourselves, consciously, into new paths.

It is understandable that so many have been asleep in the dream that was long ago created for them. Let us not blame those caught in this perpetual destruction machine, but rather try to awaken them by whatever means possible. The future of humanity is at stake. Fighting the police state is not a fight against an enemy. It is a struggle within our collective beliefs to escape our path to destruction in order that we may instead become mutually creative guides in a peaceful evolution towards our highest potentials.

Authority is not a safety net. It is an anchor that keeps us from being swept into the deeper waters of chance and choice. It was once a serviceable device for allowing our civilization to safely dip our feet in and test the waters of this existence without being dragged out into the deep too quickly. There comes a time, however, that if you plan to be in this ocean of infinite possibilities for awhile, you better learn to swim for yourself.



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Alia Atreides

Hi, my name is Trevor. Thanks for reading!

  • JC

    Another bullshit propaganda article by a streetsheep copblock shill. I see freekeeners and copblockers try to imitate the PD all the time. I’ve seen some videos of FK activist driving around in former patrol cars that still look like a police cruiser. Copblockers wear these little badges, and interfere with police investigations. Josh, you are an idiot.

  • Chris

    Notice: JC is always on this site 24/7 posting disparaging remarks to all articles without providing any evidence to the contrary, which gives credence to that he is either on payroll to do so or is just a basement dwelling troll looking to get a rise out of people. Do your fellow readers and the owners of the site a favor and pay him no mind.

  • Joshua H

    Your man crush is getting a little out of control. Please stop thinking and talking about me so much. It is unhealthy to bolster your obsessions.

  • Miss Obvious

    Another bullshit propaganda comment by statist shill JC. I see JC try to imitate an intelligent human all the time. I’ve seen this Copsucking ‘activist’ posting comments that (to a moron) might look like he may have actually read, understood, and reflected upon the article. Copsuckers like JC post these sad little comments, but fail in their attempt to interfere with people learning about and rejecting the growing police state. JC, you are an idiot.

    P.S. You forgot to say that the article plagiarized. That’s your standard response to an idea piece that’s above your reading-level. All of your comments are standard,
    generic, and boring. My favorite standard JC reply (always in response
    to a Cop behaving outrageously and indefensibly): “It will be interesting
    to see how this turns out.” Yeah, interesting. Too bad you are a real human and not a comment-bot. How much time have you spent on this site being pathetic, vile, stupid, and utterly unconvincing in your attempts to defend your “viewpoint”?

  • mobooz
  • Difdi

    “The widespread skepticism of claims to authority was nudged awake when
    Trayvon Martin was murdered by a man, George Zimmerman, who asserted a
    position of unwarranted authority over the young man before killing him.
    Although it is not clear if Zimmerman represented himself as acting in
    any official capacity, it does raise reasonable doubt in the public over
    whether claims of authority should be immediately yielded to.”

    Did you bother to read that aloud before clicking Post?

    In the first sentence you claim Zimmerman murdered Martin as an example of someone impersonating authority, then in the second sentence you state that you don’t know whether Zimmerman asserted authority at all.

    Which is it? Either you know or you don’t, it can’t be both ways.

  • Wild J. Mywildersyde

    Dear Cop Block: It’s because I realize that it is highly plausible that the existence of police impersonators exist in our society, that I will refuse compliance with any cop. Their uniform and vehicle just aren’t taken at face value anymore by me. I recall a case on like Forensic Files years ago or some crime solving program where they’ve eventually caught the person. It was a case where some guy let his own fantasy get the hell out of control where he wanted to impersonate a cop with the full intentions of abducting a woman to rape and kill the woman. The only reason why this person was ever caught was because the first woman he abducted fought back and got away. Now, with police uniforms easy to replicate their patches and everything, and even their police cars are easy to replicate right on down to the lights and decals. You can thank Internet commerce for making it very easy to replicate police and impersonate them. You can’t trust them at face value! I don’t care if you were programmed to accept them at face value, but the simple rule of thumb is trust is earned and not just given away. Common sense should prevail in this, plus you the average civilian do have inherent powers within you to perform citizen’s arrest in all states except New Hampshire and Washington D.C. You can arrest even police under citizen’s arrest and use reasonable up to lethal force to execute such. Learn your state laws and the laws of any state that you may be traveling into on their procedure and their definition of reasonable force. Cop Block quit showing videos that suggest complying with law enforcement, because if you’re not going to make the public well informed about their ability to use citizen’s arrest you’re liable for endangering people by saying comply with law enforcement. Never comply. Never volunteer information. Fucking don’t even talk to police about anything! There’s an awesome video that’s about 48 minutes long on YouTube called, “Don’t Talk to Police.” The person putting on the presentation is a law school professor and he even invited in a police officer who says the same thing and why you never talk to police. LOOK IT UP.

  • Allen Benge

    Wild, you had best spend some more time researching the law, rather than running your mouth about something you know nothing about. While it is true that the only difference between police and citizens is that only the police can arrest on a warrant, the law does not give the citizen’s arrest whacko a pass if he is wrong. The officer has the resources of a city, county or state, but he had better be right, because of our litigious society. A citizen who makes an arrest has no resources to fall back on. If there is a lawsuit, and there usually is nowadays. The citizen is totally exposed both civilly and criminally. If you try a citizen’s arrest, and the arrestee cleans your clock, you pay for the hospital bills. If he sues you for false arrest, kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault (shall I go on?) You are on the hook, you do not have deep pockets watching your back. There is a world of difference between exercising your rights and just being a damn fool. you really have to know when speaking to an officer is just good manners and when he is trying to get you on something. True, the policeman working a case is not your friend, but it is easy to make him your worst enemy

  • Allen Benge

    Only two men know the truth about what happened between Martin and Zimmerman that night, and one of them can never have his story told, and to tell you the truth, after I followed the case, I would not trust Zimmerman if he were sitting on a stack of Bibles. It does seem possible that Zimmerman claimed to be a police officer. because that was his fantasy and dream. The TV series CHiPs had more than one episode where guys impersonated CHP motor officers, probably because of the thrill of wearing a uniform and having people seeing them on a motorcycle. One of the guys was truly a criminal, using the disguise to harass women, while the other basically just got a kick out of wearing the uniform of his brother, killed in the line of duty.

  • No one is impersonating police, it’s the police using the media to cover up what their officers are actually doing.