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Man arrested in Colorado for impersonating first responder

Alexander Johnson was being held on a misdemeanor charge after being pulled over in Granby.

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — A 32-year-old man was arrested Friday evening after a sheriff's deputy said the man was driving with red and blue flashing lights.

The Grand County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) said one of their sergeants saw a white Toyota 4Runner driving on Highway 40 near Granby Bridge in the town of Granby with the red and blue flashing lights operating. The sergeant did not recognize the SUV as a local emergency responder and pulled the vehicle over, the sheriff's office said.

The driver of the 4Runner, Alexander Johnson, told the sergeant that he was a firefighter, deputies said. The sheriff's office said their sergeant "knew based on previous knowledge that Johnson was not a firefighter and did not have the legal authority or proper permitting to be using emergency lighting."

Volunteers that require emergency lights need to have specific approval of their agency head along with documentation from the state of Colorado, the sheriff's office said.

“The public puts their trust in emergency responders which often includes the usage of our emergency lights as we respond to emergency incidents," Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said. "When an unauthorized person impersonates a public official, it diminishes public trust and will not be tolerated.”  

Johnson was arrested for:

  • impersonating a public servant 
  • illegal use/possession of emergency red and blue lights
  • violation of temporary instruction permit
  • failure to present evidence of insurance upon request

Johnson was still being held in the Grand County jail as of Monday evening.

The sheriff's office said if anyone has information about previous impersonation incidents to call their investigations division through the non-emergency number for dispatch at 970-725-3311.

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