WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is asking people to come forward if they have had an interaction with a Polk County man who has been arrested twice on charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer.
James Garfield, 28, of Winter Haven was first arrested for impersonating an officer on Sept. 18, 2015. He was seen driving a car that looked like a police car and had police lights. Deputies also say there was a taser and radar inside the car.
Garfield was arrested a second time on the same charge on Saturday, Oct. 3 after the sheriff’s office was notified about another incident in which Garfield allegedly posed as a law enforcement officer.
According to an arrest affidavit, on Aug. 25, witness Robert Shiver was in a verbal civil dispute with one of his former employees at Patriot Auto Sales in Eagle Lake, when he and the former employee observed a black Ford Crown Victoria that they described as a “marked patrol car” pull into the business lot.
A man, who was later identified as James Garfield, got out of the car, produced a gold colored badge in a black leather holder, and said, “I am an officer of the law.” He also told the former employee to back up.
Shiver told Garfield to leave, to which Garfield replied, “I’m an officer,” and refused to leave the property, according to the affidavit.
Another employee at Patriot Auto Sales also observed the behavior and heard Garfield say to Shiver, “I’m law enforcement, I can go wherever I want to go” and “if you ain’t careful you’re going to be in big trouble.”
Deputies on Oct. 3 served an arrest warrant on Garfield for one count of impersonating a law enforcement officer. He is being held in the Polk County Jail on $25,000 bond.
The sheriff’s office is continuing to investigate Garfield’s actions.
“If you have interacted with James Garfield while he is impersonating a law enforcement officer, we want to hear from you. Garfield has been saying all along that all he does is run a private security business, but his stories differ greatly from what witnesses are telling us,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Please call PCSO at 863-298-6200 if you have any additional information about Garfield pretending to be a sworn law enforcement officer in this county,” Judd added.