Two men have been accused impersonating police officers and conducting traffic stops in the Kalispell area last month.
Loren William Macfarlane, 20, and Derek John Waatti, 19, both pleaded not guilty to felony charges of impersonating a public servant during a Feb. 8 appearance in Flathead County District Court. Both men are expected to stand trial in April and if convicted could face up to five years in prison.
According to court records, law enforcement in several communities received multiple reports of a reckless driver in a Jeep with flashing lights trying to pull people over on Jan. 3. The driver would follow other vehicles around with the lights on and later pass them. Law enforcement spoke to a woman who pulled over after seeing the vehicle thinking it was a legitimate law enforcement vehicle. A man walked up to her window, flashed a bright light in her face and identified himself as a police officer.
Law enforcement eventually found the Jeep people had been describing and pulled it over. Detectives interviewed Macfarlane who allegedly admitted to conducting “traffic stops” along with Waatti. Officers asked to look at Macfarlane’s phone and found a video of one of the “traffic stops.”