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Is it illegal for someone to paint their car with police emblems, a badge or ‘To protect and serve’?

Cammie Bellamy
Bigstock illustration

Bigstock illustration

According to N.C. General Statute 14-277, it is illegal for anyone to “falsely represent to another that he is a sworn law-enforcement officer.” The statute explicitly prohibits a person from operating a car with red or blue lights or spot lamps or telling others that he is a police officer.

While the law doesn’t specifically reference painted emblems on cars, it does make it illegal to display “any badge or identification signifying to a reasonable individual that the person is a sworn law-enforcement officer.”

Wilmington Police Department spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay said car decorations are likely covered by that provision. Since 1998, the WPD has handled 50 incidents in which someone in Wilmington impersonated a police officer.


How can I get the police to patrol my neighborhood more? I’m tired of cars speeding through it.

Is it legal for police officers to speed in their police cars without their sirens or lights on?

User-contributed question by:
jeff baltezegar

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