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Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

As the POLICE Web editor, Paul Clinton contributes posts about patrol cars, motorcycles, and other police vehicles. He previously wrote about automotive electronics as managing editor of Mobile Electronics. Prior to that, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter.



William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.
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Mall Ninjas

Police impostors can jeopardize your career if you spend time with them.

July 28, 2010  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

Not long ago, I was amazed to see a creature that gives recruits, rookies and all of us a bad name. This critter comes out in public, attempts to gather the eye of the unknowing and steals from our good reputations. The "mall ninja" is on the prowl.

The Mall Ninja will seek the attention of the unwary public. They obtain weird, black T-shirts that have FBI, DEA, Narcotics and SWAT on the back. Then they parade around in the public with them on for all to gaze upon. They are not cops; they are wanna-bes or pseudo cops.

They are rarely armed—this is a good thing—but most can talk about death and destruction. They walk about strutting themselves as if they were Tommy Tactical. Pitiful truth is that they can not or will never be a cop; they are living a dream. This charade goes on every day, somewhere.

You know the type; they all have a story as to why they can't be a real cop. But, if they could be one, then they would be a one-man wrecking crew. The military is plagued with these as well. The fake SEAL, or make-believe Ranger and fantasy Special Delta Force member who has never graced boot camp and will never do so. They are out there impersonating their dream, and stealing from the honor of those who earned the tabs and pins.

I warn all to distance themselves from these sorts. There is no guilt by association, but just hanging around them feeds into their dreams of grandeur. They talk a mean game but in a few minutes you can weed them out. The unknowing public may not be able to be this wary.

Of course, they will have some demented bold statement far beyond the "Kill them all and let God sort them out." Theirs is just short of nuclear warheads. What is even more worrisome is that some will rig vehicles with scanners and other accruements of the trade. Keep a keen eye on them because some have impersonated law enforcement officers.

Of course if we real cops allowed them to be hang-arounds, this would be a dream come true. One wanna-be I knew was dropping some officers' names. Pretty soon, it was a trip to IA for the real cops because this pseudo cop was spouting off his crime-prevention schemes with their names attached, giving credence to it. This was not what they wanted, needed or endorsed.

I'm not making fun of these creatures of the mall or the drive-ins. We live in a country where you can dream to be whatever you want to be. Such is America. But I don't walk around with a white coat and scalpel bragging about performing appendectomies. Nor should they pretend to do what we professional cops do for living.

The job is hard enough to land and keep. Don't jeopardize your career with pseudo-cop pals. It is not worth it.

Tags: Police Impostors


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