Researchers say metro Atlanta would have fewer fake cops if police gear was harder to get

For months, Channel 2 Action News has been reporting on people impersonating police officers across metro Atlanta.

Researchers told Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson that if police gear was harder to get, there would be fewer impersonators.

Most police gear, or items that look similar to actual police gear, is available to the general public online.

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Mary Dodge is a criminal justice professor at the University of Colorado-Denver and one of the few who have published research about police impersonation.

“We can’t even imagine how often this happens. That we don’t know about it, because the victims are not reporting it,” Dodge told Johnson.

She says there are three types of impersonators and the suspects all underestimate their effects on victims. She classifies them police enthusiasts, common criminals and deviants.


“It feeds their ego,” she said. “By acting as an impersonator, it goes to a sense of authority and respect.”

Dodge says limiting access to replica police gear may limit the number of violent impersonations.

One man, Yasin Yasdizadeh, was arrested in Suwanee earlier this month after wearing a shirt that said “police” on it and even carried a Walkie Talkie with him during a road rage incident. Police say he stopped a woman who he thought was driving too fast.

Yasdizadeh was set to appear in court on Wednesday for a bond hearing, but the hearing was pushed back. He remains in the Gwinnett County Jail.

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