published Thursday, March 17th, 2011, updated March 17th, 2011 at 7:51 p.m.

Man posing as officer pulls over undercover police vehicle

A security guard who apparently wanted to play police officer pulled over the wrong person Tuesday, according to Dalton police.

James Dale Smith, 58, an employee of J.J.K. Security in Chattanooga, turned on his strobe light and tried to stop a car on Shugart Road shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, police spokesman Bruce Frazier said in a news release.

What Smith didn’t know was the car was an undercover vehicle and the driver a Dalton Police Department detective.

On Wednesday, Smith was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and impersonating a public officer or employee, Frazier said.

When the detective saw the strobe, he radioed for a marked police car and continued driving. Smith, driving a white Crown Victoria with a “Police Interceptor” icon on the back and white strobe lights mounted along with police-style radio antennas, pulled up on the driver’s side of the unmarked car and started to nudge his car toward it, Frazier said.

That’s when Smith apparently recognized the driver, Frazier said. He turned off his strobe and pulled into a RaceTrac station, while the detective followed him and turned on his own blue lights.

He told the detective he wasn’t trying to pull the car over, but he told investigators later that he thought the car was going too fast, Frazier said.

Smith was wearing clothing similar to a police training uniform, a dark polo shirt with 511-style cargo khaki pants and black boots. He wore a Glock pistol in a belt holster, along with a spare ammunition magazine and handcuffs in a holster. He also had his security badge on his belt.

Frazier said police don’t have any reports of Smith attempting to pull anyone else over.

Anyone who believes they were pulled over by Smith is asked to contact Sgt. Daniel Nicholson at 706-278-9085, ext. 159.

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Dumbledore403 said...

And First Degree Stupidity?

March 17, 2011 at 12:56 p.m.
woody said...

Now, that's funny!!

Still chuckling..Woody

March 17, 2011 at 1:42 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

Am I the only one who thinks this actually isn't funny? When I see blue lights in the mirror, I pull over. I don't want to debate whether it's a real cop, and whether some pistol-packing Barney Fife-type (or much worse) is going to bump my car or take a few shots at me if I don't accede to his authoritarian fantasies. Throw the book at this guy!

And I read the headlines in "related articles" below, on just a typical Thursday afternoon:

"Dalton man arrested for firing gun at gas station"

"Cousins fall out, one fatally shot"

"Pratt charged in shooting death"

Where are all the stories about licensed, trained citizens carrying guns who are thwarting crime and making criminals think twice?

Yeah, I thought so...

March 17, 2011 at 2:44 p.m.
erobersonII said...

Licensed, trained individuals with carry permits are not law enforcement officers and are not allowed to act as such. If you ever attend a Tn. carry course, they make sure to tell you that. Permit holders are allowed to defend themselves or threatened third parties, not to go out and be crime fighters. And no, I don't think this is funny either. This isn't the first time in recent memory that someone has been arrested for impersonating. I personally won't pull over for an unmarked car, they'll have to call for a regular squad car with lights on top.

March 17, 2011 at 2:56 p.m.
tnvret said...

Of course, the connection between events like this and using unmarked cars for traffic enforcement goes ignored. Clearly marked cars intended to be readily recognized deter incidents like this because the public understands that an unmarked car is not the real thing. A high profile vehicle on the other hand is likely a bit too obvious for an impostor. It would be difficult to identify a car with blue lights behind you at night in any case, but light bars on top are far better than hidden lights in the grille or windows. I've always wondered who was driving the cars with virtually black windows, standard plates, and nearly invisible blue lights. And what better means of transportation for a terrorist than an unmarked police car.

March 17, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
harrystatel said...

I'll see your crook and raise you one. In Chattanooga we have clowns posing as mayor and City Attorney.

March 17, 2011 at 5:38 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

"I've always wondered who was driving the cars with virtually black windows, standard plates, and nearly invisible blue lights. And what better means of transportation for a terrorist than an unmarked police car."

That's a really, really good point. Now, when are the real police going to start enforcing the law against fully tinted windows all around on vehicles, and obscured license plates? It's the automotive equivalent of a burqa on a photo ID.

March 17, 2011 at 5:45 p.m.
Sailorman said...


You're right - it's not funny. A few years ago, I believe it was in California, fake police were a real problem. They eventually caught the guys but not before they attacked several women.

As for the rest of your post, here's what you're looking for.

March 17, 2011 at 6:07 p.m.
mhbraganza said...

This is exactly why the police should never use unmarked vehicles to pull cars over. ALL law enforcement vehicles should be plainly marked as such. While undercover police operations are sometimes necessary, routine traffic stops and security patrols are not suitable for undercover operations. This kind of sneakiness just lowers the status of the police in the public's eye and it also makes it much easier for imposters like this clown to commit crimes on innocent victims.

Police cars have no more business pretending to be something else than civilian vehicles do pretending to be police cars.

March 17, 2011 at 7:06 p.m.
RainingBlood561 said...

Unmarked cars are a big problem here in South Florida. The I is full of different one's and theres always problems with people refusing to pull over for them. It's only a matter of time before something tragic happens.....

March 18, 2011 at 4:40 a.m.
nightangel9092 said...

Really... Most people getting pulled over already know what they did wrong. So if you see blue lights (and you know you did something)do yourself a favor pull over. Now on the other hand, if you know for certain you've done nothing, contact your local police dept. to see if it indeed a real cop. However, if it is and your just one of those drivers who don't even know what the hell your doing, then ya might have to pay for being a dumba$$. It should'nt matter if it marked or not. PULL OVER, flashing lights usualy mean emergency, right...

March 18, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.
nightangel9092 said...


Do understand in America every one above 18 has the right to bear arms. With that said, yes I do agree with you they should be little more throught with there choices, but nether you or I can do anything about that one.

March 18, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

When in doubt, use your cell to call 911, give them your location and request a marked patrol car. Also request to know if the car that is trying to pull you over is an unmarked patrol car and has 'called in' the stop. Dispatch should notify the officer of your suspicions.

March 18, 2011 at 11:26 p.m.
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