By BILL MILLER firstname.lastname@example.org
Grapevine police are crediting a motorist for alerting them to a man who now faces a charge of trying to impersonate a cop.
The arrest was made around 9:30 p.m. Sunday after a 22-year-old man in a white pickup with flashing lights allegedly followed a car on Texas 360, police said.
The suspect, Adan Ramirez of Grapevine, was being held Wednesday in the Grapevine jail, charged with impersonating a public servant.
Police declined to release the driver's name, but they lauded him for immediately calling 911 when he suspected the flashing lights on the truck didn't belong to a real cop.
He also stayed on the line as he drove, which helped dispatchers send police to his location.
"He did everything exactly right," said Sgt. Kim Smith, police spokeswoman. "If we could write it in a textbook and give it to the public, this would be it."
The driver had been on the shoulder of Texas 360 checking a map and was trying to merge back into traffic when he noticed the flashing lights, Smith said.
The truck had special police-style flashing lights on the front and back of the pickup, similar to the ones used on unmarked police cars, Smith said.
The man called 911 and told the operator, "I ain't pulling over for an unmarked car," according to a recording of the call.
Also on the recording, the operator asks the man if he thought he was being pulled over by whoever was driving the truck.
"I don't know if he's trying to pull us over or what," the man said, "but he turned his lights on and he won't go around me or anything."
At some point the truck driver turned off the lights.
"He ain't got them on now," the man told the 911 operator, "but he had them on a while ago."
Dispatchers contacted police who saw the truck and the car, Smith said. Officers got behind the truck and directed the operator to tell the caller to exit at William D. Tate Avenue, Smith said.
That's where officers made a traffic stop on the truck and Ramirez was arrested, Smith said.
He also carried a fake identification that was actually a gift card from a restaurant that had been painted black and had the word "police" on it, Smith said.
Police shared information about Ramirez to other law enforcement agencies who had reports of fake cops in their cities, but none had responded back by Wednesday, Smith said.
Ramirez, she added, "admitted to installing system on the truck, but he didn't admit to any use of ID card or explain any intent or motive."
"But," she said, "whenever the witness felt the person in the truck was trying to get his attention or make contact -- that violates the law."
Impersonating a public servant, which is a third-degree felony, is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Smith noted, however, that a "hold" was placed on Ramirez by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or "ICE." The hold indicates he is suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, which makes him ineligible for bond.