FWC impersonator pulls over off-duty law enforcement officers
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Media contact: Greg Workman, 352-620-7335
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) had its second incident in two months of someone impersonating a law enforcement officer.
The most recent incident happened the night of Dec. 28, 2013, when four people in a moving vehicle were “shining” deer at night in a wooded area in Fort McCoy. In Florida, you’re allowed to shine a light at night to observe wildlife as long as you do so without a gun. Doing nothing illegal, as they had no firearms, they saw a vehicle approach from behind, indicating they should pull over. Both vehicles pulled to the side of the road.
Trenton R. Lewis (DOB 01/13/87), from Ocala, exited the second vehicle and confronted the occupants who were shining a light. Lewis identified himself as an off-duty FWC law enforcement officer.
What Lewis didn’t know was that he had just pulled over a vehicle full of real local law enforcement officers. Lewis briefly argued with the occupants and was unable to provide proper law enforcement identification or credentials. All he offered was the name of a local FWC supervisor. One of the actual law enforcement officers saw what appeared to be a firearm on Lewis. At the time, the real law enforcement officers were unarmed and unable to call for verification, so they discreetly ended the dialogue to de-escalate the situation. Everyone safely went their separate ways.
Shortly afterward, a complaint was made by the four witnesses and an investigation ensued. FWC investigators put together all the evidence and executed an arrest warrant for Lewis, who was later booked in the Marion County jail on felony charges for impersonating a law enforcement officer.
The first incident happened in November, when a 17-year-old, who was outfitted in full law enforcement gear, including a badge, was targeting people in the Ocala Wildlife Management Area. The imposter was stopped by an FWC officer working with information from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. He was placed under arrest and charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer.
“Don’t take the law in your own hands,” said Capt. Chris Roszkowiak, FWC law enforcement supervisor. “If you see a wildlife crime, be a good witness and contact the FWC at 888-404-3922. You can remain anonymous and if your information leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a reward through our Wildlife Alert program.”
Besides calling FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline for wildlife violations, the public can text Tip@MyFWC.com or visit MyFWC.com/Contact and select “Report Violators.”