(St. Francis County, AR) The St. Francis County Sheriff is asking his deputies to strictly enforce a state law prohibiting any kind of blue lights on vehicles.
In the last week, three drivers have already been given citations for blue lights. That includes the new, brighter headlights called HID lights, which often have a blue tint.
While the sheriff is giving them time to change out those lights, he does note that the violation is a Class A misdemeanor.
That could result in a $2,500 fine or up to year in jail.
Tennessee and Mississippi laws also state that blue lights on cars could result in a misdemeanor.
“Blue lens, blue bulbs, anything that would even come close to resembling a police vehicle,” said Sheriff Bobby May, “You can't even have a blue light lying in your seat of your car.”
Some auto shops in Forrest City told News Channel 3 that deputies had come through a couple of months ago to make sure they had removed all blue tinted lights from the shelves.
In Craighead County, a man who impersonated an officer using blue lights recently pulled over a 19-year-old woman.
“My deputies have noticed several around. We've been talking about it. And it seems to be a trendy thing,” Sheriff May said.
But some complain that new cars sometimes come with the HID lights on them already.
May said that state law does not make those lights illegal if they came that way from the manufacturer.
It is only illegal if someone installs the lights after the vehicle is purchased.
Rachel Morphis drives a Kia Optima that came with those brighter lights.
“They help me see through the fog; I've actually been able to stop for a deer crossing the road,” she said.
Morphis said she understands the danger of police impersonators, but she said that there are too many HID lights on cars these days for law enforcement to crack down on them.
Another driver, Adria Warmack, said her grandfather, a reserve deputy with the St. Francis County Sheriff’s Department, installed a line of blue lights underneath his car’s headlights.
“He put them on there, and once he turned the car on…and with the other lights, they look pretty cool,” Warmack said.
She said that people with blue lights sitting on the dashboard should definitely be pulled over, but she does not believe anyone would mistake her grandfather’s car for a police vehicle.
“They're not blinking. I don't think if I tried to pull over anybody that they'd actually stop.”