Police: Teenager posed as officer

A Freetown man linked to a report of someone impersonating a police officer and stopping vehicles by using a cellphone app has been arrested.

Police said they believe Joshua K. Morris, 18, of Freetown, used the app that simulates the lights of a police car to pull a motorist over in the 2800 block of West State Road 258 early Thursday morning.

Jackson County Officer Adam Nicholson investigated the incident and arrested Morris at his residence in Freetown on a Level 6 felony charge of impersonating a police officer. A Level 6 felony is punishable by six months to three years in jail.

The incident involving a man in a black Kia impersonating is the third report by a motorist in Jackson County since May 14, Nicholson said. One involved an incident in the Cortland area, and the other was reported in the Seymour area.

He said the motorist that Morris pulled over Thursday morning said a man in a black Kia stopped his vehicle and asked him for his driver’s license and registration.

Nicholson said in that case police believe the man strapped his cellphone to his visor, flipped it down and turned the app on.

He said it would not have worked very well in the daytime because the lights from the app wouldn’t be very visible.

Police suspect Morris was involved in all three incidents. Additional charges are pending, Nicholson said.

That man told police the man who pulled him over was not wearing a police uniform and the car was not a marked police car, but the man was wearing a sheriff’s badge and a sidearm on his belt, Nicholson said.

Nicholson said motorists need to know that a plainclothes officer in an unmarked vehicle cannot pull someone over.

“The only way a plainclothes officer can legally stop a vehicle is with a fully marked police car,” he said.

Nicholson said the man impersonating an officer left the stopped motorist after being questioned by that man.

That man gave Nicholson a description of the man and the vehicle, which led Nicholson to Morris’ residence. At the time of his arrest, Morris was found to be in possession of a BB or an air gun and a replicated sheriff’s badge.

Morris was taken to the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown and was being held without bond Thursday.

Jackson County Officer Dustin Steward, Brownstown Police Chief Tom Hanner and Brownstown Sgt. John Long assisted with the investigation.

At a glance

To report any suspicious activity, contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department at 812-358-2141 or Seymour Police Department at 812-522-1234.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.