HAMPTON -- Police say driver flashed a badge, claiming to be a fire lieutenant, during a traffic stop. That driver, 34-year-old Ashley Ellison, faces several charges, including Impersonating Public Safety Personnel.
"Myself and every other first responder have worked very, very hard to not only to get where we are to work for the City, but to earn that public trust, and just one incident like this could really make a citizen fearful in trusting us when they really do need our help, so that's our concern here," said Corporal Mary Shackelford with Hampton Police Division.
Shackelford told 13News Now an officer pulled over Ellison at about 12:45 a.m. Tuesday morning near East Pembroke Avenue and Grimes Road. Ellison supposedly identified himself as a lieutenant with the Division of Fire and Rescue and said he was assigned to one of the stations in Hampton.
Police aren't sure if Ellison made the claim, hoping to avoid trouble, but officers and firefighters believe the situation presents an opportunity to remind people how to check that someone claiming to work in public safety actually does.
"As a police officer, I'm required to carry a City ID card, which I always have with me whether I'm in uniform or not in uniform," explained Shackelford. "If that person is a true law enforcement officer, then they won't mind, they want you to ask for that identification."
Firefighters have similar city-issued cards.
"If someone thinks there might be either an impersonator of fire or police in nature, you're more than welcome to please call our dispatch to verify," said Shackelford. "Say that someone's at your house saying that they're a police officer, please, call and ask, 'Are there officers supposed to be at my house.'"
Ellison, who is from Newport News, declined 13News Now's request for an interview.
Besides the charge related to impersonating a fire lieutenant, he faces charges of Driving Under the Influence, Driving with a Suspended License, Reckless Driving, and a Concealed Weapon charge.