'Fake' cop in Lake County identified as FHP trooper

Trooper did not call in stop to dispatchers, authorities say

CLERMONT, Fla. – A man who pulled over a woman in Lake County has been identified as a 27-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, police said.

Police were searching  for a man who they believed was posing as a law enforcement officer when he pulled a woman over on Sunday.

According to the Clermont Police Department, the trooper conducted a traffic stop but did not notify dispatchers because he recognized the vehicle and its driver, Jessica Jones.

News 6 asked FHP why the trooper didn't call the traffic stop in. FHP Spokesperson Kim Montes said he didn't have to.

"He is not required to call in this traffic stop," Montes said.

"Under FHP policy, we have about six dispatchers. We have our own dispatchers and we have to dispatch for about 20 state agencies on any given day between crashes and other things. There is no way possible that every trooper that conducts a traffic stop can call it in. We are not required to unless you are assigned to the midnight shift for patrol duties, so he was within policy to not call this in," Montes said. 

A police officer found Jones, sitting behind a Beef O'Brady's restaurant on Sunday crying hysterically.

Jones told the officer that she was pulled over by a man after she left the Lake Sumter College Library. She said she was traveling west on State Road 50 toward Groveland.

The trooper told an officer from the Clermont Police Department that he identified himself and his agency when he pulled over Jones.

Jones told police that the trooper asked her why she was in such a hurry and then told her that he might know her because he lived a few streets away from her.

She said she didn't feel threatened by the man and thought the traffic stop was legitimate, that was until he said he knew her.

"The only reason why that seemed suspicious is once he asked for my parents name and address he kind of knew where I lived. He said, 'I think I seen you around in the neighborhood. You are probably a few houses down from where I am,' so that's when I realized like, OK, anyone can say that," Jones said.

Jones told police that she didn't know or recognize the man.

Witnesses initially described the trooper's vehicle as a newer-model Crown Victoria. It also had lights on the inside of the windshield, giving it the appearance of an unmarked patrol car.

Police have canceled a notice to be on the lookout for the vehicle.