LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville man has been arrested, accused in possibly two separate instances of impersonating an officer.
Christopher Flannery, 28, was in a black Ford Crown Victoria with emergency lights when he tried to pull over a would-be victim on Interstate 265 near Smyrna Road on Saturday, according to his arrest report.
A witness to that attempt told police Flannery then pulled up alongside him and pointed a gun at him before driving off. That person got the license plate number and called police.
Investigators said a similar incident took place last week involving a suspect who matched Flannery’s description.
Officers were able to track Flannery down hours after the I-265 incident. Police said he admitted to owning the car, which they observed to have emergency lights installed.
WAVE 3 News learned Flannery worked for Bullitt County Detention Center as a deputy jailer.
Chief Deputy Kenny Walters said Flannery was terminated in May, but couldn’t say why.
Flannery is an Army veteran who runs a company called Reaper Tactics. His employees have been contracted before by Off-Duty Police Services, but a representative for the security company said they were used for traffic control, and emergency lights would not have authorized for cars.
“You can’t just say I want to be a police officer, buy a badge off the internet, fix your car with lights and sirens -- that’s illegal,” WAVE 3 News Safety and Security Expert D’Shawn Johnson said.
Johnson said if someone getting pulled over is suspicious of an unmarked police car, be calm and communicate.
“Don’t speed, don’t panic,” Johnson said. “Roll your window down, wave your hand, acknowledging to the officer that you do see them.”
If the officer is in plain clothes, the driver can ask to see an identification card or ask to move the traffic stop somewhere else.
“You may want to drive to a spot that’s not so secluded," Johnson said. "Gas stations or a strip mall, somewhere there is people around.”
Johnson recommends calling dispatch to confirm the officer is legitimate. People can also request a marked unit to meet them.
“It upsets me and I’m sure it upsets a lot of law enforcement officers, because we work very hard and law enforcement officers work very hard to build a trust between the community," Johnson said. "Anytime somebody comes in and does that, impersonates an officer, that breaks the trust with the community.”
Flannery faces felony charges of wanton endangerment and impersonating a peace officer. He’s being held in the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections on a $5,000 cash bond.
He’s due back in court June 13.