IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - Law enforcement agencies in Iredell County are working to make sure citizens know the difference between real cops and fake ones.
"A plain-clothed officer is going to have their badge and weapon displayed when they interact with a person," said Capt. Bryan Johnson with the Statesville Police Department. "If someone does have doubts, feel free to ask for police identification."
Just two weeks ago, Iredell County deputies arrested Michael Kane and Donald Bradley after a home owner thought they were cops. Deputies said they were bail bondsmen wearing bulletproof vests and badges.
Russell McCloud was also arrested, and charged with impersonating and cyber stalking.
Deputies said he sent several messages to a victim who immediately reported the crime.
"He actually said he was a law enforcement officer and they did it through a text message," said
Maj. Darren Campbell with the Iredell County Sheriff's Office.
Officers said victims are most often tricked by people without a uniform who claim to be undercover.
A detective will have a case report in their hand or ask if you filed a report, Campbell said.
Officers are required to say who they are when approaching people, but now they'll make more of an effort to show their badges and encourage people to ask for them.
"Just explain to the person I'm just trying to make sure you're a real police officer," Johnson said.
"We take it very seriously because we have the trust of the public," Campbell said. "We've got to maintain that trust at all cost."