14-year-old fake cop assigned to traffic duty, patrols for 5 hours

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Vincent Richardson after his 2009 arrest for impersonating a police officer. | Sun-Times file

A 14-year-old boy, dressed from head to toe in a regulation uniform, fooled Chicago Police into assigning him to traffic patrol Saturday — his true identity only discovered toward the end of the shift.

This is the third time Vincent Richardson , an eighth- grader at Gillespie Elementary, has run afoul of the law by impersonating a cop, said his mother, Victoria Brock.

“Ever since he was 5 years old, he’s wanted to be a police officer. I don’t know why. But his whole life, his favorite [television] show has been ‘Cops,’ ” she said, noting that mental health evaluations have shown that her son is healthy.

Embarrassed Chicago Police brass said at a Sunday news conference that while the teen meant no harm and wasn’t carrying a gun, he had nonetheless discovered a security breach, and an internal investigation is under way.

About 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Vincent , dressed in a skull cap with the Chicago Police Department logo, blue cargo pants, sweater, blue uniform shirt, dickey, black vest and black boots, walked into the Grand Crossing District station at 7040 S. Cottage Grove “to report for duty,” Assistant Police Supt. James Jackson said.

Vincent was paired with a veteran police officer, and they went on traffic patrol for the next five hours.

“The senior officer was in full control of the squad car at all times,” Jackson said. The teen never interacted with the public and did not write traffic citations — a police report that is counter to Vincent ‘s story, his mother said. The boy said he went on 10 calls, one involving domestic violence, Brock said.

When the two returned to the police station, a sergeant noticed Vincent wasn’t wearing a “star” or badge, and the interrogation began. ”The subject fabricated stories and could not answer why he did not have his star,” Jackson said. The teen was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of impersonating a police officer.

Vincent was part of a youth police explorer program in the Englewood Police District in 2008 where he became familiar with the Police Department, authorities said. Still, it’s unclear where he got the uniform and how he tricked officers into putting him to work.

Questioned about the teen’s maturity, his mother said: “He’s about 5-foot-5, 5-foot-6, 150 pounds — he looks like a little man.”

Vincent is expected to appear before a Juvenile Court judge this morning.

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