WALHALLA, S.C. (WSPA) – A man was arrested on Thursday on charges of impersonating a police officer.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Department said Andrew Jason Elrod, 40, of Brown Farm Road, was arrested early Thursday morning after an investigation revealed he’d impersonated an officer at the scene of a wreck.
On April 7, Elrod was reportedly in a single vehicle accident in the area of Oak Creek Road and Return Church Road near Seneca. When witnesses to the crash came to check on him, he reportedly showed a badge and told the witnesses help was coming and they could leave.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the accident and Elrod was placed under arrest.
Separately, a deputy continued the investigation regarding the presented badge and gathered evidence in the case, including observing the badge in question.
Based upon evidence that was gathered during the investigation, a deputy obtained an arrest warrant against Elrod for impersonating a law enforcement officer.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s office says this isn’t the first time something like this has taken place.
“In this day in age, integrity is such a huge part of what we do and always has been,” Jimmy Watt with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said. “When we see situations like this obviously it can be very concerning to us.”
The Sheriff’s office says while it may be difficult to decipher if someone is impersonating an officer there are a few things to pay attention to.
“We expect our deputies, whether it’s a traffic stop or any type of call for service for that deputy to identify themselves, their agency obviously and let that individual know in the call for service why we have responded to that scene.” Watt said
The Sheriff’s office adds some deputies and investigators are not always in uniform or in a marked car. They say an individual always has the right to ask for a deputy’s badge or call dispatch to confirm who is pulling them over.
“Certainly, an individual has the right to ask for identification and for that deputy to show them their badge,” Watt said. “We have absolutely no problems with anybody that we come in contact with, especially in situations with plain clothes.”
Due to the nature of the charges, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have had previous contact with Elrod in regards to similar circumstances, or in which a badge was presented, to call the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111 and to file a report if they choose to do so.