Teen goes on traffic patrol wearing real police uniform, but is unarmed, authorities say
By Angela Rozas, Jeremy Gorner and Azam Ahmed |Tribune reporters January 26, 2009 Chicago police arrested a 14-year-old boy for allegedly impersonating one of their own Saturday.
The boy, who has been charged as a juvenile for impersonating an officer, walked into the Grand Crossing District station, 7040 S. Cottage Grove Ave., dressed in a Chicago police uniform, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. The boy, who reported for duty about 1:30 p.m., partnered with another police officer for about five hours.
The boy identified himself as an officer from another district but was detailed for the day to Grand Crossing and also was savvy enough to sign out a police radio and a ticket book, according to a source. The source also said the boy went on traffic stops with the officer he went on the street with.
Bond said the boy "did not write tickets" and said there was "no information to indicate that he [was] ever behind the wheel."
At an afternoon news conference, police said the boy had no interaction with the public.
After his tour was over, a ranking officer became suspicious of the boy. Police said the officer discovered the teen was not a real police officer when he couldn't produce any credentials. The boy was wearing police-issued pants, shirt, vest, sweater and skull cap, police said.
He was missing his police star, but that was not discovered until after he returned from traffic patrol. Police said the 14-year-old's partner on the traffic assignment did not recognize the boy was underage.
The source said the boy had an empty holster and a newspaper in place of a ballistic vest in his vest carrier.
Police described the boy as a former "police explorer," which means he was part of a community program run through the Police Department's Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) that allows youths to interact with Chicago police officers. He was part of the explorer program in 2008 in the Englewood District.
"The boy was not armed, and the matter is under investigation with Internal Affairs," Bond said.
Bond also said that how the boy acquired the police uniform was under investigation. Police officers need to present identification while acquiring their uniforms, police said.
The boy "has identified an egregious breach in security," Deputy Supt. of Patrol Dan Dugan said.
The boy, whom authorities did not identify since he's a juvenile, is scheduled to appear in Juvenile Court at 10 a.m. Monday.
14-year-old boy impersonates cop, police say -- chicagotribune.com