Teen pleads not guilty to impersonating officer

14-year-old patrolled area with partner
January 26, 2009 3:16:26 PM PST
A 14-year-old boy accused of impersonating a police officer pleaded not guilty in court on Monday.Investigators say he dressed in uniform, reported for duty at a police station and went on patrol for 5 hours Saturday afternoon at the 3rd District on Chicago's South Side.

The teen remains in custody Monday night as police investigate the incident. An internal police investigation is underway.

The public will probably not hear much about internal changes or actions- if any are taken.

At the hearing, the teen was described as a young man in need of help who meant no harm. The third district police station was apparently a fixation for a Chicago teenager.

The teen had been involved in a program at the district and wanted to be a cop there. However, the weekend incident may keep him from that dream.

On Saturday he allegedly dressed as a police officer and went out with a real officer. The 14-year-old was in juvenile court Monday. He is charged with impersonated a police officer.

Prosecutors say he wore Chicago police gear including a vest filled with magazines to apparently look like a he was wearing a bullet proof vest. He also allegedly carried a fake badge.

"This child does not look like an adult, sow could he have passed so long for a police officer?" said Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, Bethlehem Star M.B. Church.

The teen was a member of the Bethlehem Star Church on Cottage Grove. The church's pastor, Roosevelt Watkins, said he was the boy's legal guardian until December, when the teen returned to his mother.

"He is a minor that has potential and needs structure in his life. As long as there is structure in his life he does extremely well. I have been witness to that," said Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, Bethlehem Star M.B. Church.

Pastor Watkins said the boy have gotten in trouble previously for impersonating an officer and hopes the teen will get the help he needs.

"I would look at it as an individual saying help me if you can. He's crying out for someone to help him," said Rev. Watkins.

In court Monday, it was revealed that the teen was in the custody of the court at the time of the incident. Pastor Watkins said the teen had run away from a court ordered group home when the alleged police impersonation occurred.

The teen's mother was not in court. He will be evaluated and his next court date is February 27th.