Indiana Firefighter Charged With Impersonating A Police Officer

An Indiana firefighter who claims he stopped to assist a motorist whose vehicle was damaged, has been charged with four felonies after he reportedly pointed a gun at the driver after being informed by dispatch the man was “wanted” and could be armed. Yorktown firefighter Derek J. Rains is charged of criminal confinement, criminal recklessness, pointing a firearm, and impersonation of a law enforcement officer.

The incident reportedly occurred on September 26, 2023, but due to differing accounts of what occurred required an extensive police investigation. The “wanted” man told police that he was upset because the “police officer” who stopped him, pointed a gun and threatened to shoot him. Rains claims all he did was pull in behind him and activate his warning lights to protect the scene. According to WRTV, Rains acknowledged that after Delaware County Dispatch informed him over his fire radio that the man was wanted and may be armed, that he drew his weapon when the man exited his vehicle and approached Rain’s vehicle. At the time, Rain’s had his wife and adult child in the vehicle.

According to Fox59, surveillance video obtained by police confirmed that the vehicle in question was smoking. However, the facts diverged as to the chain of events leading up to the arrival of police on scene. The wanted man was taken into custody by police on an outstanding warrant from a 2021 case. More on the story from Fox59 and WRTV.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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