An 18-year-old who was in the process of becoming a volunteer firefighter was arrested Thursday and charged with impersonating a sheriff’s deputy, according to a news release from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Joshua Character was driving a vehicle flashing emergency-style red and clear lights when he illegally stopped a driver on Ga. 83 near Old Brent Road in Yatesville about 10 p.m. June 17, the release said.
Character identified himself as both a sheriff’s deputy and a firefighter and accused the motorist of cutting him off miles away on Lee Street in Forsyth, the motorist told deputies. The man told authorities he thought Character might be driving an unmarked law enforcement car.
Character held the man at roadside for several minutes, even ordering him to drive to a former bar parking lot on Old Brent Road, the man told deputies.
At one point, the man said, he asked to see Character’s badge or credentials, but Character wasn’t able to show him.
Character is also charged with false imprisonment and is in the Monroe County jail awaiting bond, the release said.
Legitimacy of traffic stops
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents only to stop for fully marked patrol cars outfitted with at least some blue lights. If there’s any question about the legitimacy of a traffic stop, the sheriff’s office recommends the following:
- Activate your emergency blinkers.
- Slow down.
- Call 911 and tell the dispatcher of your situation.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel, so that an actual officer isn’t led to believe you have weapon or contraband.
- Continue on to a well-lit and populated area.