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Thread: Tampa PI Arrested for "Allegedly" Impersonating A LEO, but may be dropped.

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    Tampa PI Arrested for "Allegedly" Impersonating A LEO, but may be dropped.

    MODERATOR UPDATE:
    After carefully reading the news report, it appears the private investigator was legally licensed as a PI. It also appears that a witness second account indicates there was no badge and no impersonation of a police officer. Just the same, this is worth reading.



    Private Investigator arrested for impersonating law enforcement officer


    -- Man arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer, but the charge might be bogus.


    DESOTO COUNTY -- A private investigator from Tampa was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer Tuesday after he approached a woman at her Arcadia home and allegedly flashed a badge.

    According to Nancy D'Amato's original statement to the Arcadia Police Department, Eduardo Martinez rang her doorbell a few times but she didn't answer. When she looked out the window to see who was there, Martinez showed her a badge, identification and driver license, and told her he was an officer and that she could verify his credentials with the Sheriff's Office. D'Amato was on the phone at the time and told her friend she would have to call her back because she had to talk to a cop, a report stated.

    The report says her friend immediately called D'Amato's niece, Barbara Alagrante, to tell her about the situation.

    "I was getting nervous because she was all alone," said Alagrante. "He (Martinez) got on the phone and he was very arrogant with me. I said, 'Give me your badge number,' and he said, 'I don't have to give you any badge number.' So I asked him to tell me what police station he was from, and he said he didn't have to give me that, either.

    "When he wouldn't give me his badge number, it triggered something in my head telling me something was wrong," Alagrante stated. She told her aunt to get out of the house immediately and called the APD.

    In her report, APD officer Angie Allred said she arrived at D'Amato's address and found Martinez there. Allred said he showed her his wallet, which contained "a shield-type badge with an ID."

    After taking D'Amato's statement, Martinez was placed under arrest.

    On Wednesday morning, D'Amato gave a slightly less dramatic version of events.

    D'Amato said she didn't see the badge and she didn't let him in her home. "He said he was looking for a Mexican fella, and he asked if I had seen him in the area, but I told him I hadn't seen him around here," said D'Amato. "He thought the guy lived around here, so he was sticking around to see if he can catch this fella."

    D'Amato added, "He wasn't impersonating a police officer. What happened was, my niece called me while he was here and I said he was a police officer but he wasn't, he was a private investigator. They handcuffed him outside and everything, but they found out that he's legal. Unfortunately, the gentleman lost his job," said D'Amato.

    "My niece misunderstood me and called the police to protect me, but it wasn't really a big deal," said D'Amato.

    A spokeswoman for Martinez's employer, Hyperion Risk, said "We are aware of the situation, but at this time we do not have any comment."

    The State Attorney's Office has not filed any charges yet.



    Tampa PI arrested for allegedly flashing a badge & saying he was a cop?

    http://www.sun-herald.com/NewsArchiv...ory=tp2de2.htm
    Tom Tanner
    "If you don't learn something new every day, you're not paying attention." ~my dad~

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    Dang, so sad

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    That's sad. The female even admitted he never stated he was a police officer, and yet, he still losses his job? If I were him, I wouldnt want to work for this agency anyways. I mean, it's all about backing the people you employee, especially when they've been proven to do nothing against the law.

    Sad sad case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Campbell
    That's sad. The female even admitted he never stated he was a police officer, and yet, he still losses his job? If I were him, I wouldnt want to work for this agency anyways. I mean, it's all about backing the people you employee, especially when they've been proven to do nothing against the law.

    Sad sad case.
    Yeah, I wanted to post this as another reminder that as PI's we're subject to all kinds of abuse. We must remember to be more diligent than we have ever been. And true, Jack, whatever happened to employer loyalty toward employees?

    Tom...

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    Tom,

    That is so true. Need to be careful... I guess no matter how careful you are uh?

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    A good reason to NOT have a badge unless it is legally required.

    It is too easy for someone to say, "I saw a badge and only police have badges, Right?"

    Business cards will do the trick and will never give a person a reason to say you are a policeman.

    mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    A good reason to NOT have a badge unless it is legally required.

    It is too easy for someone to say, "I saw a badge and only police have badges, Right?"

    Business cards will do the trick and will never give a person a reason to say you are a policeman.

    mark
    A badge makes somebody more professional. Police Officers are NOT the only people with badges. Security Guards have them, CSI people have them etc. Aslong as you show a badge, and state that your a PI or Case Examiner, then you've not stated anything against the law, and you are entitled to carry a badge.

    Weather you have a badge or not, if somebody is going to misinterput what you state your profession is, there going to do it weather or not you have a badge present.

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    Hi,

    Here in Wisconsin to avoid any kind of confusion it is illegal to have a badge or show a badge for a private investigator !

    It is a good thing and a bad thing depending upon the point of view...
    John Pierre Quesnel J.D.

    At the end we always win when we don't give up !

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    I think it a good idea at this point to give those looking for further info on their specific state's licensing law the link to our Licensing Laws Forum....

    http://www.ipiu.org/forums/forumdisp...p?&forumid=125

    Tom...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Campbell
    A badge makes somebody more professional
    A badge does not make someone more professional. I have met many a badged person who is NOT professional. I suspect all of us have. I have seen many unlicensed PI's look unprofessional in their actions, communications and general behavior. I have also seen licensed PI's do the same.

    A badge MIGHT make someone more accepted, because they are viewed as law enforcement of some type.

    Aslong as you show a badge, and state that your a PI or Case Examiner, then you've not stated anything against the law, and you are entitled to carry a badge.
    This may be true is some cases, but in many cases, it is illegal to do so. Just showing a badge in many places can get you arrested for impersonating law enforcement. Many New England states do not allow a BADGE at all.

    If your badge causes someone to think you are law enforcement, you have broken federal law and most likely state law.

    Weather you have a badge or not, if somebody is going to misinterput what you state your profession is, there going to do it weather or not you have a badge present.
    Sometimes that is true, sometimes it is not. Most people view a badge as a means for law enforcement to identify themselves.

    If a badge is not required and you feel you need a badge, I would suggest you take the time to work on your people skills.

    A business card can actually provide better communications, as it tell them who you are (no confusion), how to contact you, where you are from and who you work for.

    People skills will go further than a badge. We can all improve out people skills. A badge is dead piece of metal…

    mark

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    Badge Laws

    There is a Badge - Wallet Forum for those with the proper access level that discusses proper use of a badge. If you are in doubt as to you own state's law on the use of a badge it is best to check it out there first and once you get access to the forum you can learn additional legal opinions on the subject.
    Robert J. Munson

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    One additional item

    Here is the public forum discussing Badging

    http://www.ipiu.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=125

    Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    A badge does not make someone more professional. I have met many a badged person who is NOT professional. I suspect all of us have. I have seen many unlicensed PI's look unprofessional in their actions, communications and general behavior. I have also seen licensed PI's do the same.
    In most cases, a person would rather work directly with somebody with more than one form of ID. In this case, the PI id, and a badge, is something that may be and or is common.

    If a person is professional their going to act it weather their licensed or not. A badge to most may resemble a police officer, but many people have common knowledge to know that a police officer most likely will be in a uniform, unless their expecting a Detective.

    A badge MIGHT make someone more accepted, because they are viewed as law enforcement of some type.
    A badge simply identifies your profession, just like a business card or an ID. It's a form of Identification. Aslong as one does not state they are a LEO, they are NOT breaking any type of law by showing a badge. Maybe in NE this is a law, but in many other states it isn't.

    A Private Investigators badge, will not even come close to saying "officer" or "Patrol Man/woman" therefore the badge is also, not breaking any laws.





    If your badge causes someone to think you are law enforcement, you have broken federal law and most likely state law.
    Once again. If you are not stating in your own words, nor is the badge inwhich you are carrying doesnt refer to anything saying "LEO" of any type, you are NOT breaking any federal law. If a badge was Illegal for anybody but LEO officers to have, there will not be many places which sell these, legally.



    If a badge is not required and you feel you need a badge, I would suggest you take the time to work on your people skills.
    Just because you have a badge, doesn't mean you have to flash it around like your in a fashion show. You always want to identify yourself as a PI, Case Examiner, whatever you title is. In this cases, the majority of the people once they hear the term "Investigator" or even in some cases.. "Case Examiner" will ask for a badge. Thus having the badge, does come in handy if requested.

    A business card can actually provide better communications, as it tell them who you are (no confusion), how to contact you, where you are from and who you work for.
    A business card is a form of contact. Thus if you've already proven to somebody that your an investigator, they can contact you by means of the card. In most cases without propper ID, in many states, especially big cities, most people will not take a business card as a form of ID. Therefore, this is once again where a pitcure ID stating your title, or a badge comes into play.

    People skills will go further than a badge. We can all improve out people skills. A badge is dead piece of metal…
    People skills are required in almost every profession. Even crime scene Investigators have badges. They are NOT LEO but they do, however have their badges on display at all times. Are they impresonating a LEO? No, their wearing a badge that signifies their profession.

    Logic is. in NE it may be Illegal to have any badge if your not a LEO. But in many other states, a badge is very important part of ID.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Campbell
    In most cases, a person would rather work directly with somebody with more than one form of ID.
    Hello Jack,

    If you would be so kind to give me a pointer to the article or study that makes this claim, I would appreciate it. We can all learn, especially with information like you have shared with us, I am sure the article will have other useful hints to follow.

    A badge to most may resemble a police officer, but many people have common knowledge to know that a police officer most likely will be in a uniform, unless their expecting a Detective.
    Common sense is not common and I would suggest that “common knowledge” is also not common…

    Let's see, FBI, ATF, DEA, USSS, detectives, Marshall’s, railroad police, and a lot more – the VAST majority will NOT have a uniform, that is a LOT of LEO’s

    Knowing that a PI will not have a uniform, a PI with a badge can look like any of the above law enforcement officers.

    In my experience, most of the above show their ID, not their badge, as the ID has a picture and other useful information to show they are the real deal.

    A badge simply identifies your profession, just like a business card or an ID. It's a form of Identification. Aslong as one does not state they are a LEO, they are NOT breaking any type of law by showing a badge. Maybe in NE this is a law, but in many other states it isn't.
    In many states (go count them up and share with us how many do not allow it) it is illegal for a PI/exception employee to have a badge. It is also illegal via federal law (HR 4827, Law #106-547, ENHANCED FEDERAL SECURITY ACT OF 2000, Sec, 716) to have a badge that would make someone think you are law enforcement, whether intentional or not.

    A Private Investigators badge, will not even come close to saying "officer" or "Patrol Man/woman" therefore the badge is also, not breaking any laws.
    In my experience and those in law enforcement that I have talked to, people do not examine the badge close enough to know what it says. They will likely verify the picture on the ID is the same as the face that is in front of them.

    If the badge was "flashed" and they feel that one is LE, because language barriers, hearing vision, etc., one can be in bad trouble.

    Once again. If you are not stating in your own words, nor is the badge inwhich you are carrying doesnt refer to anything saying "LEO" of any type, you are NOT breaking any federal law. If a badge was Illegal for anybody but LEO officers to have, there will not be many places which sell these, legally.
    Federal law is cracking down on selling badges or allowing someone to have a badge on them. See the federal law I referenced above.

    The badge does NOT have to say anything about LEO or otherwise, just the it is flashed and a person believes the badge owner is LEO is all that it takes for it to be illegal.

    Just because you have a badge, doesn't mean you have to flash it around like your in a fashion show. You always want to identify yourself as a PI, Case Examiner, whatever you title is. In this cases, the majority of the people once they hear the term "Investigator" or even in some cases.. "Case Examiner" will ask for a badge. Thus having the badge, does come in handy if requested.
    Please let me know the study where a majority of people will ask for a badge vs. an ID. I have not seen that study and would enjoy the education.

    A business card is a form of contact. Thus if you've already proven to somebody that your an investigator, they can contact you by means of the card. In most cases without propper ID, in many states, especially big cities, most people will not take a business card as a form of ID. Therefore, this is once again where a pitcure ID stating your title, or a badge comes into play.
    A business card is a form of contact but also a verification that you are a PI, as ones state provided ID says. The picture ID is by most valuable and along with a business card, they now have a point of contact, your name, company name, phone numbers, etc.

    People skills are required in almost every profession. Even crime scene Investigators have badges. They are NOT LEO but they do, however have their badges on display at all times. Are they impresonating a LEO? No, their wearing a badge that signifies their profession.
    PI's need the ability to communicate better than most, as it is commonly needed to investigate and take down statements as part of the job.

    Since you bring up CSI’s, go look on the web and find out why they wear badges. In most places they are required to wear badges as part of the jobs, much like a private security officer might be required to wear a uniform and badge when working.

    Some states have the medical examiner as one of the few who can arrest a sheriff… As such, they are LE.

    Logic is. in NE it may be Illegal to have any badge if your not a LEO. But in many other states, a badge is very important part of ID.
    Sometimes logic is not easily understood by all. Please take a moment and let us know how many states it is legal in vs. illegal to have a badge. I think you will be surprised. For the state laws that do not require a badge and they do not have problems, a badge is not “very important” or those states would require PI’s to have a badge.


    My best,

    mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Campbell
    and yet, he still losses his job? If I were him,
    No mention of him losing his job from the employer (only the cop), and his PI License is still good as of today for his employer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    A good reason to NOT have a badge unless it is legally required.

    It is too easy for someone to say, "I saw a badge and only police have badges, Right?"

    Business cards will do the trick and will never give a person a reason to say you are a policeman.

    mark
    We teach: Badge, Business Card, and what you say is all required so as not to confuse an old lady who ended up calling her daughter.

    We also teach: Don't use a badge or business card if you are undercover trying to locate a target. There are hundreds of good stories and pretexts to get the information on the target without blowing the cover.

    Was he arrogant? Sounds like he was, even though he's legal. That is a problem too.


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    Quote Originally Posted by John Pierre Quesnel
    Hi,

    Here in Wisconsin to avoid any kind of confusion it is illegal to have a badge or show a badge for a private investigator !
    John, badges are permitted in Wisconsin as long as they are used within the statutes.

    If you have the proper Level access, go to the following link:
    http://www.ipiu.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    A Many New England states do not allow a BADGE at all.
    Mark,

    Your state, New Hampshire, does have a restriction on certain uses of a badge, but also permits many other uses for the badge as well.

    I have reviewed all of the New England state badge laws, and they pretty much are the same as your state.

    So, please review the New Hampshire link below:
    http://www.ipiu.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6238

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    In many states (go count them up and share with us how many do not allow it) it is illegal for a PI/exception employee to have a badge.
    This is incorrect, Mark. You are referring to the statute that mentions or refers to the following:

    "No badge shall be used in "conjunction" with a private investigators license."

    Again, please see the previous New Hampshire link I gave you. The statute does not preclude any US citizen, licensed PI or not, to have a PI Badge. What the statute refers to is the use of a PI Badge in some states that is flashed or used in conjunction with a regulated case by a PI Licensee.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    It is also illegal via federal law (HR 4827, Law #106-547, ENHANCED FEDERAL SECURITY ACT OF 2000, Sec, 716) to have a badge that would make someone think you are law enforcement, whether intentional or not.
    Sorry, Mark, but that is not what HR 4827:106-547, Section 716 states. The statute only applies to police badges, not private investigator badges, and makes it very clear that the badge must resemble a police badge (which private investigator badges, so titled, do not)

    Here is a copy:

    (a) Whoever—
    • (1) knowingly transfers, transports, or receives, in interstate or foreign commerce, a counterfeit police badge;

    • (2) knowingly transfers, in interstate or foreign commerce, a genuine police badge to an individual, knowing that such individual is not authorized to possess it under the law of the place in which the badge is the official badge of the police;

    • (3) knowingly receives a genuine police badge in a transfer prohibited by paragraph (2); or

    • (4) being a person not authorized to possess a genuine police badge under the law of the place in which the badge is the official badge of the police, knowingly transports that badge in interstate or foreign commerce, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.

    (b) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the badge is used or is intended to be used exclusively—
    • (1) as a memento, or in a collection or exhibit;

    • (2) for decorative purposes;

    • (3) for a dramatic presentation, such as a theatrical, film, or television production; or

    • (4) for any other recreational purpose.

    (c) As used in this section—
    • (1) the term “genuine police badge” means an official badge issued by public authority to identify an individual as a law enforcement officer having police powers; and

    • (2) the term “counterfeit police badge” means an item that so resembles a police badge that it would deceive an ordinary individual into believing it was a genuine police badge

    Source:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/us...6----000-.html
    Sub Source:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/Ho...4:25:50%202006

    2nd Source:
    http://www.nles.com/store/customer/h...ion=badge_laws

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    If the badge was "flashed" and they feel that one is LE, because language barriers, hearing vision, etc., one can be in bad trouble.
    Still, the flashing of a fireman's badge does not make it illegal to the point of arrest if the citizen only claims he "thought" it was a LEO badge. I think the caution would be to always give a business card that supports the language on the card and vice versa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    Federal law is cracking down on selling badges or allowing someone to have a badge on them. See the federal law I referenced above.
    Again, the federal law is not covering your claim. The reading of the federal law is very clear, and includes defensible reasons for having a genuine "looking" police badge. Collectors and others can lawfully own and have in their possession police badges. But they cannot use it in a manner that falsely represents themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    The badge does NOT have to say anything about LEO or otherwise, just the it is flashed and a person believes the badge owner is LEO is all that it takes for it to be illegal.
    That may be true to a limit. You could flash a blank piece of polish metal and yell "COP", and could probably be arrested because of the circumstances. But just flashing a toy badge that says "Cowboy Marshal" and saying "I am a private investigator" does not meet the statutes of the citizen believes the owner of the badge is inferring they are a police officer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    Federal law is cracking down on selling badges or allowing someone to have a badge on them. See the federal law I referenced above.
    Not so sure. It is still legal to sell and possess any type of badge. See the "defense" reasons cited.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    A business card is a form of contact but also a verification that you are a PI, as ones state provided ID says. The picture ID is by most valuable and along with a business card, they now have a point of contact, your name, company name, phone numbers, etc.
    We totally agree. All forms of ID help support each other item. Show a badge and leave out your photo ID and business card, there will be trouble. A photo ID and business card is generally enough. The optional badge/wallet is a third item to consider, not the first item.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Buda
    let us know how many states it is legal in vs. illegal to have a badge.
    Answer: All states, depending on the whether or nor the case is state regulated or unregulated by the licensing board. Again, see the other New Hampshire link. If you have comments, please post them there instead of this topic about the Florida PI.

  21. #21
    Vladimir Louverture's Avatar
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    presenting a badge has the same effect in any state you are in it represents authority and professions, but it is your duty to identify yourself soundly either verbally and secondary provide a business card for those who doesn't have one I suggest that tour inquired of one it is a very important part of your identification

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