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Wichita Police Lieutenant Doug Nolte said a misunderstanding over a weekend traffic stop led to some good discussion in the community about what to do if you're pulled over by a police officer.
A police officer pulled up on a traffic stop early Saturday at Harry and I-135, but the other officer drove away. It was originally thought that it might be someone impersonating an officer, with recent reports of phony Kansas Highway Patrol troopers stopping cars in southern Kansas. The other officer turned out to be a Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy making a legitimate stop, and he left to respond to another call in Derby.
Nolte said Wichita police and sheriff's deputies work on different dispatch channels, and the officer checked with Kansas Highway Patrol dispatchers. He said this "communication gap" led to the misunderstanding, but dispatchers eventually pieced things together.
Nolte said the police department will review its protocols on traffic stops and make sure to check with all dispatch channels.
Nolte said this incident did get people talking about what they should do to make sure they're being stopped by a real officer. He said if you have a cell phone you can call 911.
Nolte also pointed out that police and emergency vehicles have to have red and blue lights, so someone with only red or only blue lights may not be an officer. Anyone flashing headlights at you would also not be a legitimate law enforcement officer.