When In Doubt About the Cop Trying to Pull You Over, Drive to Safety or Call #77 or #677 on Your Cell Phone-Partly Truth!



Summary of eRumor:

The story of a young college woman who was suspicious about an unmarked patrol car attempting to pull her over.  She remembered her parents’ advice to proceed to a safe or populated place before stopping and also contacted the authorities on her cell by by using #77.  Other patrol cars were sent to her location, the person in the unmarked car was arrested and turned out to be a convicted rapist.  

Some Canadian versions of the story say the number to call is #677.

The Truth:

Whether this particular story is real, we don’t know, but the information it conveys is apparently sound.

TruthOrFiction.com talked with law enforcement agencies on both the East and West Coasts. The consensus was that if you are suspicious about a patrol car wanting to pull you over, especially in an isolated area or at night, it’s prudent to proceed to a place where would feel safer.
The problem is that the law says you are to obey an officer who says to pull over so if you do decide to continue, do so in a way that makes it clear you are not trying to evade him or her.

If you have a cell phone, call your local emergency number, usually 911, and you can be connected to a dispatcher who can help decide whether the car attempting to pull you over is legitimate.  

Also, as happens in this eRumor, you can inform the dispatcher that it is your intention to comply, but only after you get to the next off ramp, gas station, populated areas, etc.

We’ve received numerous emails asking about the #77 procedure described in the eRumor.

Even though 911 is the most common number to use in an emergency, there are many states that have established other numbers as well for cell phone users, especially to report highway emergencies.   

The #77 number is one of them.  Some states use *77 or even #55.  

The story that suggests using #677 is a Canadian version of this eRumor that inserted the numbers for reaching the Ontario Provincial Police in Ontario.

One of the reasons, according to a cell company we spoke with, is that the 911 calls from a cell phone go to different kinds of agencies depending on where the phone call is being made.  

In some areas, dialing 911 on a cell phone may go to a city or county emergency dispatcher.  In other  areas, the call may go to a state highway law enforcement agency such as the highway patrol or state troopers.  

In the states with the “77” numbers, cell phone users will usually get connected directly with a highway law enforcement agency.  

For that reason, you will frequently see signs posted along some freeways, expressways, or toll ways suggesting use of a number other than 911 if you’re using a cell phone.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

  I never even knew about this #77 feature!

   This actually happened to one of my dearest
   new friend’s daughter.
   Her daughter, Lauren, is 19yrs old and a
   sophomore in college. This
  happened to her over the Christmas/New Year’s
   holiday break. It was the
  Saturday before New Year’s and it was about 1PM in
   the afternoon. Lauren
  was driving from here, Winchester, to visit a
   friend in Warrenton. For
  those of you who are familiar with the area, she
  was taking50 East towards
  Middleburg and then was going to cut over to 66 via
  17.Those of you who
  aren’t familiar with this area – 50 East is a main
  road (55mph and two
  lanes each side with a big median separating East
  and West lanes), but is
  somewhat secluded, meaning mostly residents along
  the road, rather than
   commercial businesses. Lauren was actually
  following behind a state police
  car shortly after she left Winchester and was going
  just over 65mph since
  she was following behind him.
   An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her
  and put his lights on. My
  friend and her husband have 4 children (highschool
  and college age) and
  have always told them never to pull over for an
  unmarked car on the side of
  the road, but rather wait until they get to a gas
   station, etc. So Lauren
  had actually listened to her parents advice, and
  promptly called #77 on her
  cell phone to tell the dispatcher that she would
  not pull over right away.
  She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there
  were 2 police cars, one
  unmarked behind her and one marked in front of her.
  The dispatcher checked
   if there were 2 police cars where she was. There
  wasn’t and she was
  connected to the policeman in front of her and he
  told her to keep driving,
  remain calm and that he had back-up already on the
   way.Ten mins later 4
  cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind
   her.One policeman went
  to her side and the others surrounded the car
   behind.They pulled the guy
  from the car and tackled him to the
  ground……….the man was a convicted
  rapist and wanted for other crimes.
   Thank God Lauren listened to her parents! She
  was shaken up, but
   fine. I never knew that bit of advice, but
  especially for a woman alone in
  a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car
   in a secluded area. In
  fact, even a marked car after dark should follow
   you to a populated area.
  Apparently police have to respect your right to
  keep going to
   a”safe” place. You obviously need to make some
  signals that you acknowledge
  them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call #77
   like Lauren did. I am so
  thankful that my friend was just sitting at our
  book club meeting telling
  us this scary story, rather than us at her house
  consoling her!
  Be safe and pass this on to your friends.
  Awareness is everything!