SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused of impersonating a law enforcement officer was arrested after officials said the man pulled over an off duty cop.
According to the Casselberry Police Department, Omar Forde, who works for a security company called Criminal Task Force, was driving home from work when he noticed a blue BMW pass him in the left lane.
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“While I’m going home the gentleman flew past me and his car danced, so I thought he might have been intoxicated. I didn’t want him to hurt himself,” Forde said in the body camera video released by Casselberry police.
Forde told authorities he drove up behind the BMW, which appeared to be swerving, and activated his emergency lights and siren, officials said.
In the body camera video, Forde told police he thought the other driver was impaired.
“I blew my horn and I flashed the light and I put my speaker up and pulled up next to him and said, ‘Hey, slow down. You’re going to hurt yourself,’” Forde said in the video.
According to authorities, Forde pulled away and the driver of the BMW, an off-duty Orlando police officer, followed him flashing his lights until they came to another stop.
The officer said he believed that Forde was conducting a traffic stop on him. When Forde pulled alongside the BMW, the officer said Forde was dressed in a way that resembled a law enforcement uniform.
Investigators said Forde was wearing a tactical vest that said “CRIMINAL TASK FORCE”, a silver badge over his heart and a duty belt equipped with a taser, handgun and microphone.
Capt. William Nas with Casselberry police said the off-duty officer called 911 to report Forde.
“When he tried to stop him, he could look over and see and since he’s a policeman himself, he knows about the uniforms and jurisdictions and he knew it wasn’t a Casselberry or Seminole County or trooper, so he called us right away to get this person stopped and questioned,” Nas said.
In the body camera video, Forde told police he was not trying to impersonate an officer.
During the investigation, authorities also learned that Forde did not have a valid drivers license.
The state attorney’s office filed charges against Forde this week. He’s charged with impersonating an officer and driving with a suspended license. Forde has bonded out of jail.
News 6 Traffic Safety Expert Trooper Steve Montiero shared tips for traffic stops, including pulling over in well-lit areas, calling 911 to confirm a real officer is pulling you over and to always ask for the officer’s identification.
“So many people can go out and buy a badge that nowadays looks like a cop. That identification comes specifically from the issuing agency and lets you know that’s a real cop or not,” Montiero said.