A Washington man was arrested for allegedly impersonating a police officer for 25 years.
Jim Bailey, 69, reportedly tried to break up a fight between a couple in a car in August. He allegedly identified himself as a retired cop and told a witness to call 911.
“He had held down the male or pulled him aside and directed the other individual to call the police and say that an officer needs assistance,” said Oak Harbor Police Chief Edgar Green.
A follow up investigation found Bailey had been pretending to be a retired police officer for decades. Police say he even placed ads in newspapers offering professional police services all over the state.
“He was listed as an officer doing certain trainings and things, so there became some concern that he was acting as an officer, maybe obtaining information that he shouldn’t be obtaining, maybe obtaining information that we need,” Green said.
Bailey was an Oak Harbor reserve officer in the late 1980s but he never graduated from police academy, KOMO News reported.
“To be able to do that for 25 years and get away with it is kind of surprising, but, yeah, it’s completely wrong,” Oak Harbor resident Mark Belcher told KCPQ.
“Twenty-five years, I mean, that’s a really long time and for no one to even realize for that long a time is actually kind of terrifying in a way. Cause who else is out there doing it?” said resident Jennifer McIntosh.
Impersonating police is a gross misdemeanor in Washington state.
"We're very proud of what we do and work very hard at what we do," Green said. "So to find someone who comes along and just takes that for granted and pretends to be one of us, that's upsetting."
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / torbakhopper