Man charged for impersonating officer in Acworth, police say

The Acworth Police Department said a man was arrested and charged for impersonating an officer and improperly using emergency lights.

Acworth Police say it was the man's car that first caught their attention. Then they saw his uniform. It looked much like one of their own. Investigators say he even had a utility belt complete with a radio and magazines for a gun.

When Acworth Police Chief Wayne Dennard saw the driver of a car turn on red and white flashing emergency lights to make his way through traffic, he had on of his officers pull him over.

Police body camera video shows the chief asking the driver about the lights.

"Why all these emergency lights? Did I see you use emergency lights to pull out on Lake Acworth Drive," Dennard said.

The Dodge Charger was an old police car that still had a lot of bells and whistles.

"It had the spotlight mounted on it still, push bar on it, lights on the back of the vehicle near the tag, lights in the back window, front windshield and lights along the side of vehicle and also had inmate compartment cage in the back of the car," said Acworth Police Corporal Eric Mistretta.

The driver was wearing a uniform that looked very much like a police uniform.

"Patches on both shoulders that said "Georgia", a name tag, rank insignia on his collar and other decorations that make him appear to be a police officer," said Corporal Mistretta.

The man in the uniform also flashed a badge.

The suspect, 33-year-old Jerardson Mackey, said the uniform is for his company, a funeral escort service. Mackey told officers he has the badge because he's an off-duty HERO operator.

Mackey was initially cited for unlawful operation of an emergency vehicle.  But after further investigation, detectives learned he hasn't been a HERO operator since January when GDOT fired him. Mackey was later charged with Impersonating a public officer.

Investigators say that's illegal and dangerous.

"We don't know what he's doing he could be stopping cars, passing cars, driving recklessly with his lights and putting citizens in danger," Mistretta said.

FOX News talked to Mackey, who has been released on bond. He said he never claimed to be a police officer. He wanted to tell his side of the story but needed to talk to his lawyer first.