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WEBER COUNTY -- So much for his dreams of joining the force. The Weber County Sheriff's Office says a man who wanted to become a deputy so badly he got a fake badge off the Internet now has no chance of ever becoming one.
Capt. Klint Anderson tells KSL they first learned about the "wannabe deputy" when he gave his phony badge to his ex-girlfriend as a present. She was suspicious and called North Ogden police, who turned it over to Weber County, thinking it belonged to them.
"We did a double take," Anderson says. "The badge is a very good facsimile of the badge we have, just slight little differences."
That's a concern, in part, because of the many stories of people pretending to be an officer in order to pull someone over and then assault or rob them. In those cases, the offender doesn't usually have a badge.
Anderson doesn't think that's what this man was doing. He says the man genuinely seems to have wanted to be a police officer and was impersonating one to impress his friends.
"He described some of his ‘exploits' [to them], and even went so far on one occasion with one of our witnesses to make them believe that they were with him on his rounds to do some work," Anderson says.
That said, even if he didn't have any further criminal intent than his own desire to be an officer, it's still a class B misdemeanor.
"These kinds of mistakes will, well, it makes you ineligible to go through the police academy," Anderson points out.
Cooper Griffin, 22, was booked into the Weber County Jail. Anderson asks anyone who thinks they may have come into contact with him while he was pretending to be an officer to call the department as they wrap up their investigation. The number is 801-629-8221.
Additionally, Anderson says if you come across a law enforcement officer and you have any reason to doubt the person is who they say they are, you can call 911 and get verification or ask for the officer to bring in his supervisor, both of which are safe ways to handle the situation without getting in trouble.