Drivers warned of fake officers

Howard County police warned residents yesterday to be wary of suspicious behavior during traffic stops after they arrested a second person in less than a month on charges of impersonating an officer.

Both arrests occurred little more than a mile apart in Laurel, though police said the two are unrelated.


In the latest case, Brian Franklin Rogers, 25, was arrested Friday on U.S. 1 near Davis Avenue in Laurel. The Baltimorean was charged with impersonating an officer and concealing a deadly weapon, police said.

Police said an officer saw a man in a Dodge Stratus, which looked like an unmarked police car with antennas on the trunk, stop another car using emergency lights.


The Howard officer stopped to assist in the traffic stop and discovered that the man was posing as an officer, police said. The officer found a badge and handcuffs on his belt, a police baton on the front seat and, after a search, a billy club hidden under the front seat, police said.

In an unrelated case Aug. 10, police arrested Oley Burgess Rust III, 45, of Laurel and charged him with impersonating an officer, concealing deadly weapons and displaying a police shield without authority.

An officer saw an unattended Ford Crown Victoria, which looked like an unmarked police car, with its engine running on U.S. 1 near Freestate Drive in Laurel, police said.

When the officer stopped to offer assistance, he saw a gun bag on the front passenger seat of the car, a placard in the sun visor that read "Police Official Business" and an emergency light in the back of the car, police said.

A man approached the officer and said he was the driver of the car, police said. The officer found that the man was carrying two concealed knives, and two guns and ammunition in his car, police said.

In a statement yesterday, Howard police said that residents may request to speak with a uniformed officer if they are stopped by a plainclothes officer driving an unmarked police car.

Drivers can also turn on their hazard lights -- to acknowledge the officer -- and drive to a well-lighted location before stopping.