Alleged cop impersonator to appear in juv. court

January 26, 2009 9:54:24 AM PST
Chicago police say a 14-year-old boy has been charged with impersonating a police officer after he allegedly dressed up in a regulation uniform and reported for duty at a South Side police station.The boy worked with a partner in a squad car overnight.

The 14-year-old boy was in police custody at the juvenile detention center Sunday. Police say he was very familiar with the police department because he used to be a member of the Young Explorer program, which is part of the CAPS program. Police say the boy was and still is eager to be a police officer.

His mother says he has wanted to be a police officer since he was five years old.

It was Saturday at 1:30 p.m. that police say the 14-year-old boy reported for duty at the 3rd district. The teenager was dressed in a full authorized Chicago police uniform, although he was not wearing a C.P.D. star on his sweater, nor was he carrying a gun.

The boy was partnered with a female officer. They went out for about five hours on traffic duty before heading back to the station. It was there that a sergeant questioned the boy about his identity and also why he wasn't wearing a star.

The boy says he couldn't answer the questions and began making up stories. It was then when he was arrested for impersonating a police officer.

"He basically said he did it because he was bored," his mother told ABC7 Chicago.

"The senior officer was in full control of the squad car at all times, and the 14-year-old never interacted with the public while present with the assigned officer," said Chicago police Asst. Supt. James Jackson.

However, his mother says that is not true. She says her son told her that he went on 10 calls Saturday afternoon, including a couple domestic violence calls.

"The height and weight was pretty much proportionate. A photograph of the individual, in my opinion, he looks older than his 14 years. Keep in mind, [he was] in the uniform, because as Sergeant Jackson stated, he was familiar with the procedures as being an Explorer," Dep. Supt. Dan Dugan said.

At the beginning of the shift, it is police practice to have a roll call, and at that roll call, it is the watch commander's responsibility to look at every officer's uniform. In this situation Saturday, apparently there was no roll call.

The incident is under review and investigation. Police would not say exactly what the female officer that the boy rode with for five hours had to say or if she questioned him.

According to the boy's mother, this is not the first time her son has impersonated an officer. She claims he did it before and was never prosecuted. She also says Vincent told her he bought the uniform at a uniform shop.

The mother says while he son may look a bit older than 14, she still can't believe he got away with it for more than five hours. " I was listening to what he was saying, and I'm looking at the cops thinking, 'How did you not know this was a 14-year-old kid?'"she said.