From my good friend, Ron McClung:
Matt Lydic got into his vehicle to begin his daily commute to work. Suddenly he saw flashing lights in his rear view mirror and heard the sounds of a siren. When the black, unmarked Ford Crown Victoria did not pass him, Lydic realized he was the target.
When he pulled over, the Ford drove alongside him. The driver told Lydic to slow down and then drove away. Lydic became suspicious and copied the license plate as the driver accelerated down the highway.
When it came back registered to a private citizen, officers went to the home of 62-year-old David Word and arrested him. Mr. Word, a civilian impersonating a police officer, had made the mistake of stopping a real police officer dressed as a civilian. Lydic was on his way to the Avondale, Arizona Police Department to begin his shift.
This spring, a jury deliberated four hours before finding Mr. Word guilty of impersonating a peace officer. The court scheduled sentencing for next month.
I don’t know what his punishment will be. Jail time? A fine? Community service? Whatever it is, it has to be significant enough that people realize the courts will prosecute crimes like this to the extent of the law.
One spokesperson in Maricopa County said an individual who impersonates an officer creates a trust issue between police and the public. If citizens see flashing lights and hear a siren, they need to know the person driving the vehicle is a legitimate law enforcement officer.
No one likes to be fooled. Yet those of us who are trying to take God seriously and live by His Word must realize that we too can fall victim to an impersonator. The apostle Paul warned his readers that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14 NIV).
So don’t be surprised if you hear people talk as if what you thought was wrong is actually right and what you thought was right is no longer “cool.” Temptation does not always come at us head-on; sometimes it sneaks into our peripheral vision when we least expect it. So be on your guard. Don’t let temptation catch you by surprise.
By the way, Mr. Word, the police impersonator, was surely surprised when police arrested him at his home in the community of Surprise, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. True story.