Because a woman reported that she was pulled over last month near the bicycle path in the area of the 2000 block of Ridgeview Drive by two men impersonating law enforcement, the Yuma Police Department has offered the community tips on how to stay safe when stopped by an unmarked vehicle.

Spokesperson Sgt. Lori Franklin explained that the YPD has numerous unmarked police vehicles, and that they are driven every day by detectives and sworn officers in administrative positions and during specific duties. She added that while she understands people are generally suspicious of them, she wanted the public to know they are necessary.

In describing the YPD’s unmarked vehicles, Franklin said they have passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUV type vehicles. The vehicles vary in color and are from several different auto makers.

All of the department’s unmarked vehicles that are equipped with lights will also have red and blue lights mounted inside the vehicle near the top of the windshield and back window. Some will have additional lights in the grill. No unmounted, movable or temporary lights are used.

Also, none of the department’s unmarked vehicles have push bars in the front.

Franklin further stated that sworn officers with the department will have identification on them when driving an unmarked vehicle and none of them will ever wear masks. 

If an unmarked vehicle is attempting to pull you over and you have concerns, you can call the police department and let them know the following information:

“Yes, you can use your cell phone while driving in an emergency situation,” Franklin said. 

When calling the police department about a traffic stop involving an unmarked vehicle, provide the following information - your name, that an unmarked vehicle is attempting to pull you over, your location and direction of travel, the make and model of your vehicle and make and model of the vehicle trying to pull you over if you can identify it, and ask them to verify if a Yuma Police officer has called out a traffic stop in that location.

The Yuma Police Department Dispatch Center will be able to verify if one of its officers is making the traffic stop. If another agency is trying to conduct the traffic stop, YPD may not be able to verify that right away.

The Yuma Police Department also wants to advise that no law enforcement officer should be wearing a ski mask when conducting a traffic stop. If that occurs, leave immediately and call 911.

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