Can Anyone Say they are a Law Enforcement Officer?

A recent incident at the Southampton Center has citizens wondering.

Is it legal for a retired law enforcement officer to identify himself as a police officer? 

John Sheveland, a retired law enforcement officer, parking lot on June 27 and identified himself as a police officer.  The man Sheveland approached is an alleged accomplice of a woman who was seen stealing wallets from customers in Raley’s.

According to Lt. Frank Hartig of the , it was not illegal for Sheveland to identify himself as a police officer.  Hartig stressed that any action Sheveland took would be as a citizen and not on behalf of any law enforcement agency.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeff Kauffman of the Solano County District Attorney's office couldn't comment directly on the case Sheveland is involved in but generally agreed with Hartig’s opinion.  “It’s so fact dependent that there is no definitive answer,” said Kauffman.  “Merely presenting yourself improperly could be a crime.”

Kauffman went on to say that it would be more likely that a crime might be committed as a result of someone improperly identifying themselves as law enforcement officers.  For instance, if someone identified themselves as a police officer in order falsely imprison another, then the false imprisonment  would be the crime. 

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

Robert Livesay July 13, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I like your style Elaine.
Karl Voigt July 13, 2012 at 06:51 PM
....yup, as pretty myopic and foolish.
Robert Livesay July 13, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Karl I have perfect vision and am very fool proof. I do know what I am talking about and you know that. I also think you are not a fool.
ekatin July 13, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I'm such a "lefty" that I see Obama as at best a moderate Republican in his politics, but I approve of what this retired officer did.
Robert Livesay July 13, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I do not you ekatin but it appears your heart is in the right place. That is good enough for me.
Robert Livesay July 13, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Robert Livesay July 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Elaine July 13, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I'm glad your book and the penal code are two different books.
Steve Alvord July 13, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Coming from a police and fire family, my gut says what he did is morally right, and I back him 100%, how would you feel if everyone stood by and played it safe. I wouldn't feel to good....
John l. Sheveland July 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM
What is wrong with some of you people. I helped a citizen in trouble who would probably have gotten hurt if I had not. Two days before this incident I was informed that I need a left knee replacement. I got hit by a car on the left side of my body, then the driver tried to run over me. I have pictures to prove it. I took it upon myself to help. I have no backing from any police dept. as to liability. I do not get a 90 % pension and paid medical. I was pensioned out from Marin Co. because an inmate fought with us. I now have a neuro stimulator in my back and am in constant pain and shall be for the rest of my life. Want to see the scars. Karl what the heck do you want from me I saved someone from being a victim and for that I get all your crap. Look up 12027 of the Calif. Penal code instead of spouting off with all your dribble
Karl Voigt July 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I just hope all of you feel just as warm and fuzzy about this elderly cowboy's judgement when he or someone like him uses a lethal weapon to fire at a car and the bullet misses or passes through the thin sheet metal and kills an innocent bystander. Lets not lose sight of the fact that these two shots nor any of his other actions aided in any way in arresting the suspects. The real "heros" in this incident were the OTHER retired police officer and the store manager who DID succeed in capturing the first suspect, and the REAL Benicia police officers who did capture and arrest the other suspect in a thoroughly professional and competent manner.
John l. Sheveland July 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Karl You finally got to me You make me absolutely sick to my stomach because you are such a moron. SFPD has 3 medal for valor a bronze, silver and gold. I earned all three. For the gold I was shot by a man that killed 2 and shot 7 people before we got there What have you ever in your pitiful little life done for anyone except sit on your back side and complain about someone.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" July 14, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Right is Right and Karl is Right!!
Robert Livesay July 14, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Bobby Karl is not right in this case. I do like Karl 's comment. Buit in this case he is wrong. If I was Karl I would not want you standing up for me. John is a man of Valor and lets all understand that. I am very glad that he is on the residents side. Bobby you know better.
Freedomisntfree123 July 14, 2012 at 03:42 AM
It was legal. No need to respond. This crap discussion is what the patch was hoping to stir up. Mr. Sheveland, thank you. Now stop responding or reading this garbage.
Kenny July 14, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I agree 100%.
Insider July 14, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Sorry to hear of your injuries in the line of duty Mr Sheveland, and regardless if I agree with how this parking lot incident came down, thanks for your service and you did what you felt was right, no one was injured and the criminal was captured, end of story.
Carl Mann July 14, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Would some of you prefer John Sheveland be charged with a crime? Then what, you'll shut up about it? There is quite a debate as to legality of his actions, but as someone else said, what he did was right in my opinion also. It is reassuring to me to know that several retired and active LEOs live in this town. This fact alone may well inspire caution in the minds of potential criminals that think they can waltz into Benicia and get some, like they do so casually in Vallejo. Thank you, John Sheveland
Babaloo July 14, 2012 at 08:29 PM
it's is my understanding that a "retired" police officer or corrections officers ...still have legal powers to carry a weapon and have powers to enforce the law. so. paul you are incorrect in your assumption. just because the "POWLEECE" isnt an officer from your "city" does not negate the fact they do retain those powers. they may not be "active duty". but have served their time and should be given the respect accordingly. they earned it.
Babaloo July 14, 2012 at 08:34 PM
john, no need to defend yourself. we support you. thank you for what you did. i respect your self sacrifice and wish you only the best.
Babaloo July 14, 2012 at 08:35 PM
bobby is a racist. leave him alone in his own self pitty.
Babaloo July 14, 2012 at 08:39 PM
if people want to allow Benicia to become like Vallejo, we will allow this garbage to continue. keep the trash out of Benicia. SUPPORT OR POLICE and FIREMEN. If you don't like it here move to VALLEJO or RICHMOND, the iron triangle wants you ....go where there is NO POLICE, NO FIREMEN to protect you. go live in the mess they have created,,,worry about being burglarized, robbed, attacked...how many gun stores in Benicia ? How many in Vallejo ? Richmond,,,,just guess.....
"The Black Panther of Poetry" July 14, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Babaloo, you can call me anything you want to but please, please; I implore you to please don't call me, late for dinner!!!
RJ Stewart July 14, 2012 at 11:09 PM
If you really want to be around far reaching crime don't bother with Richmond or Vallejo, move to Wall Street. That's where the illegal becomes legal under the protective shield of "too big to fail." Better yet, hang out at Penn St. where crimes of a dispicable nature is overlooked because of the good ole boy system. Some of you fail to equate unreported and unprosecuted crime as crime. I suspect you don't have to leave Benicia to be around it.
Gary Wing July 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Thank You John
"The Black Panther of Poetry" July 15, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Amen brother...PREACH!! For they know not what they say!!
Robert Livesay July 15, 2012 at 03:41 AM
RJ I do agree some what. I do believe it is Liberals. Barney Frank and Chis Dodd to start. Now we have President Obama calling a Mormon a liar. Now Mr. President you just stepped over the line. It is so easy to figure out even Bobby Chuckles has got it.
Babaloo July 15, 2012 at 02:20 PM
when you practice a religion for many years then "convert" to christianity at "the right moment", say anything to get elected, then lie, take millions of dollars and spend it instead of "doing what's right". yeah i believe he called a mormon a liar.
RJ Stewart July 15, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Dare I call them all liars ( the Mormon & the Mus-tian), even the good intentioned retired LEO, who identified himself to the fleeing perp as a police officer. Yes, 'bert liberals lie and as hard as it is for you to believe so do conservatives. Heck, even I have been known to spin a yarn or two when I felt it would serve my own self interest. The problem is we the people find excuses for not holding our leaders and cops accountable for their transgressions. If only we could return to the good old days when the saint Ron Reagan walked the earth . . just before he convinced Eve to bite the apple.
Robert Livesay July 15, 2012 at 05:39 PM
RJ I believe the big difference is the lack of respect for law enforcement, teachers, corp boss' and anyone in a position of authority. I was taught to respect all adults if I did not my parents were not to happy with me. Are there bad apples in all parts of life. Yes. Politicans, boss', police officiers and for sure parents. If anyone thinks that this so called corp greed has not existed for every they are living in a hole. You hear more about it today because of the internet. It was always there. I do not call it greed I call it success. I also believe most folks are not at all informed. That is because they chose not to and then make blanket statements about corp greed, bad cops, etc. Folks need to start paying attention to what is going on and get off this me me me attitude. It shoiuld we are all part of the solution not the government. How many times have your heard folks say I deserve free education, healthcare and many other things. Then when a safety or fireman retires at between 50/55 cry out loud about their undeserved pension. The only reason they are complaining is because they choose the wrong career. Now they want the government which is the tax payer to support them. It is wrong and I am sorry is a certain wing of the democratic party the Liberal/Socialist that cry the loudest. Both party's have their faults. I do not think they are all liars. I did love President Reagan. I have been a conservative all my life..


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