Committee discuss cop impersonators

March 9, 2009 2:58:32 PM PDT
A Chicago city council committee approved an increased penalty for anyone caught impersonating a police officer or a firefighter.The action comes after a 14-year-old boy was arrested and charged after posing as an officer and going on patrol for several hours before he was caught.

Alderman James Balcer proposed the amendment on Monday after discovering a city ordinance required only a fine of up to $100 for impersonating a police officer and $10 for imposing a firefighter.

Under the proposal, both crimes become misdemeanors which could send offenders to jail for up to six months with fines of up to $1500.

"We've had people impersonating police officers in our city, and it creates a danger not only for the police, but for the public, and people need to know that the person that's coming to them is a Chicago police officer or a Chicago fireman," said Alderman James Balcer, 11th Ward.

The police and fire committee approved the amendment which is now on the agenda for the full council's March 18 meeting.