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Since You Asked

Every once in a while we hear about someone impersonating an officer pulling over a driver — the driver is usually a woman and the attempt is often made at night. With all the new unmarked police vehicles on the road these days, I was wondering what people should do if they are worried the "officer" attempting to pull them over isn't legit?

— Jane S., Wimer

Jane, we at Since You Asked took your cautious query to Jackson County sheriff's Capt. Rod Countryman.

Countryman agrees police organizations have increased their use of unmarked vehicles. His own vehicle is unmarked, he says.

Countryman says the unmarked police vehicles do come equipped with a set of lights that strobe, flash and generally "light up like a Christmas tree."

But, you ask, how do you know some nefarious person hasn't bought a light bar and put it in his car?

If you still have qualms, you can slowly drive to the nearest police station — or a well-lit public parking area, Countryman says.

"If there's a question, you want to get somewhere you're comfortable," he says.

Often, if a driver is not yielding, an officer in an unmarked car will request additional response from a marked unit, Countryman says.

It's good to be cautious, Jane. But if that unmarked vehicle ends up leading a parade of marked cars, Countryman says you should really consider pulling over.

"It's not good when (officers) are putting out spike strips in front of your vehicle," he says.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.