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March 1, 2013

2 charged with impersonating a police officer

Two people have been charged with impersonating a police officer following a Valentine’s Day incident in the east end of Cullman County.

The arrests were made Feb. 19. Charged with the Class C felony were Brodwick Taylor Roden, 22, of Vinemont, and an unidentified juvenile from Cullman, according to Cullman County Sheriff’s Office records.

Roden is a relative of former sheriffs Wendell Roden and Tyler Roden.

The incident that led to the arrest of Roden and the juvenile occurred Feb. 14 on County Road 1541 in the Etha community, said Major Scott Clay of the sheriff’s office.

“The suspect had a flashing red and blue light on the dashboard and pulled over a vehicle driven by a woman, whose husband was on the passenger side. He walked up the car and identified himself as a military police officer, while the juvenile remained in the car,” Clay said. “The passenger sitting next to the woman was actually a Marine and though it was unusual and asked to see credentials. At that time the person imitating an officer went back to his car and drove off, but the couple was able to get the license plate numbers.”

Roden and the juvenile were later arrested. Roden was released on a $15,000 bond.

“As far as we know it was one incident involving him and the juvenile, but we have actually had several incidents dating back to last year. There have been two more incidents since these arrests were made, including one that happened around the first of the week on (U.S.) Highway 278 West, and another one just before that on Highway 31 North,” Clay said. “In the case where the arrests were made, the suspects told investigators they thought they recognized the car and did it as a gag.”

Nonetheless, Clay said a prank of this type poses risks to everyone involved.

“A person trying to do this as a joke could pull over someone who has committed a crime or is a felon. They could be attacked and seriously hurt or killed. Law enforcement officers face this risk all the time, because you can never be certain what reaction you’ll get when a traffic stop is made,” Clay said.

Clay also said anyone who has doubts when being pulled over should call 911 to verify that an officer is on the scene.

“That call can easily answer your question. The dispatcher is aware immediately when a tag number is radioed in and will know if a deputy or officer is involved,” Clay said. “Anyone who is traveling alone can also look for a public place with plenty of lights to pull into while calling 911.”

Clay said that no one has been injured during impersonations in Cullman County.

David Palmer may be contacted at dpalmer@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 213.

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