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  1. #1
    213th's Avatar
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    lookalike police car driver can't be prosecuted

    AP/Las Vegas Optic

    Jessie Vigil's vehicle, painted to resemble a police cruiser, at his home in Las Vegas, N.M.

    LAS VEGAS, N.M. Jessie Vigil's black-and-white car sports a red-and-blue emergency bar across the top and the word "police" painted on the doors.
    Vigil, however, isn't a cop.
    Law enforcement agencies say what he's done with his car isn't illegal as long as he doesn't act like a police officer.
    He started decorating his 2007 Ford Mustang last summer to look like the police cruiser in the "Transformers" movie because his 7-year-old son, Thomas, was fond of the film.
    "My intent was to re-create the movie car," said Vigil, a 35-year-old disabled veteran from the war in Iraq. "When I came back from Iraq, I tried to spoil him. I wasn't the best dad before."
    He said he called the district attorney's office beforehand and spoke to Chief Deputy District Attorney Joe Ulibarri, who tried to discourage his decorating scheme but couldn't find anything in the law that would stop Vigil as long as he didn't impersonate an officer.
    Ulibarri said a state law prevents people from mimicking state police cars, which are painted black and white. But he also said the state police sell their old cars to private citizens without changing the colors.

    "Are we violating our own law by not repainting them?" he asked.
    He called the state law vague, and noted that normal state police cars aren't Mustangs.
    "I don't think this guy has any intent to mimic a state police officer," Ulibarri said. "I'm not hearing that he is causing a problem and arresting people."
    A close look shows Vigil's car isn't a police cruiser. Instead of the familiar slogan "To protect and serve," it carries a motto: "To punish and enslave" on the side. Instead of telling people to dial 911 for emergencies, the Mustang advises them to "dial 411 for theater information."
    He originally marked his car, "Transformers police" but later changed it to just "police." He also added what appears to be a bar of emergency lights, but said they're not actual lights.
    Vigil acknowledged people have mixed feelings about his car.
    State police Capt. Craig Martin said the agency is "concerned for the safety of people who think he is an officer and think they may get help from him.
    "People around town know who he is, but not those people on the interstate."
    He who has the money, signs the cheques.
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  2. #2
    jmur5074's Avatar
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    I would hate for him to be driving along when a crime or accidents occurs, and people look to him for help.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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  3. #3
    k-9max's Avatar
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    Interesting!
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  4. #4
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    I know he is a veteran and his kid thinks it is cool and all, but I have to ask.....What the hell is he thinking? At the very least someone is going to ask him for help. At the very worst someone that doesn't like cops is going to see an chance to f up an "officer". Maybe this will happen with his kid in the car maybe it won't. What I really think will happen is that he will be blamed for causing an accident by some ambulance chasing lawyer and get sued. Common sense should be known as uncommon sense from here on out. The local authorities should step up and do their job instead of worrying about looking like party poopers. The decision makers worrying about public perception is going to get someone hurt in this one. What if more people decided to do this?

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  5. #5
    213th's Avatar
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    I noticed the prosecutor cited the fact that retired trooper cars are sold without being repainted. (I'm assuming the lettering is removed though). I don't see why it can't be reasonably argued that it is the purchaser's duty to make that car legal ie repaint it before driving it. If I buy a vehicle from someone that doesn't pass inspection, unless otherwise stated in a written contract, I'm responsible for making it legal.
    He who has the money, signs the cheques.
    He who signs the cheques, makes the rules.
    He who makes the rules, has the power.
    He who has the power, has the money.

  6. #6
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    He'll get pissed one day in a fit of road rage and pull someone over.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  7. #7
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    We have a code that prevents the word POLICE on any private vehicle.

    Falls under security guard licensing in Title 18.

    Our city made ourselves famous by prosecuting a guy who had "Furniture Police" on his moving vans.
    I'm your huckleberry...

    Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!

    You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    We have a code that prevents the word POLICE on any private vehicle.

    Falls under security guard licensing in Title 18.

    Our city made ourselves famous by prosecuting a guy who had "Furniture Police" on his moving vans.
    Interesting. In this area, we have a company called "Geese Police."




  9. #9
    gozling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    I would hate for him to be driving along when a crime or accidents occurs, and people look to him for help.
    I was thinking the same thing... or for him to be shot (at) because he is in a cop car...
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    While waves wrapped
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    'Round mule spinners

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    Were hard enough to make
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    To his world of illusion

  10. #10
    MacLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Interesting. In this area, we have a company called "Geese Police."
    And we have an officer who reads RCW in black and white. He'd be all over that like stink on goose shit.
    I'm your huckleberry...

    Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!

    You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.


    I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
    but every girl I found was either one way or the other...



  11. #11
    10-42Adam's Avatar
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    Pretty interesting article. I wonder if they would act on it if someone actually recreated a State Police car to the T, but "didn't have any intentions to impersonate a police officer." ???
    Calm Like A Bomb...

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  12. #12
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    I can deal with a black-and-white paint scheme, but writing POLICE on the doors and installing a fake lightbar is over the top. If CHP can make the Geek Squad repaint their black-and-white VW Beetles because they look too much like marked units (link here: http://www.boingboing.net/2005/08/23...oppressed.html ), how does this guy get away with that?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMyCaprice View Post
    If CHP can make the Geek Squad repaint their black-and-white VW Beetles because they look too much like marked units (link here: http://www.boingboing.net/2005/08/23...oppressed.html ), how does this guy get away with that?
    Different rules for different states. You'd be amazed at the differences in law and law enforcement from state to state.

  14. #14
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    It's alright I impersonate a police officer every day.
    the sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.
    ( Baltasar Gracian )

  15. #15
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    Black and white is so well known for being law enforcement I think it should be protected legally. When my department changed cruiser schemes several years ago we picked black and white because it's so recognizable as law enforcement.

    The other problem with this guy is not just people looking to him to help but what happens when he pulls into the 7-11 while it's being robbed? What happens to him and his son? There's a reason why my department won't allow family members in take home cars. It's dangerous for them. That means it's dangerous for this guy whenever he's around anyone who doesn't know him already.

    I think this is a good case for petitioning the state to change the law on look-alike police cars.
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