Man arrested and charged for impersonating a police officer, deputies say

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When calls about a security guard allegedly claiming to be law enforcement dropped into Constable Alan Rosen's office, he took it seriously.

"We got several complaints from the people from the community," said the Harris County Precinct 1 constable.

Rosen's deputies went out to the McDonald's on Main Street, where they found 57-year-old Joseph Willie Bell.

"There was a guy that was clearly a security guard, but was wearing a badge around his neck that said 'peace officer,'" Rosen said.

According to deputies, Bell was not a peace officer.

"He worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system," Rosen said. "And he was also a part of a 'C.E.R.T.' group, which is a citizens emergency response team, which are civilians."

Precinct 1 decided to set up a sting with an undercover deputy to see if Bell would act as a peace officer.

"He did," Rosen said. "He actually put on emergency lights."

Bell was charged with impersonating an officer, which is a felony. His lawyer spoke with ABC13 Friday night.

"He has never pulled anyone over except for the day in question," said Edward Okwueze, Bell's lawyer.

Okwueze explained that the decals on his client's vehicle are from the security company Bell works for, and he is confident he can get Bell's case dismissed.

"From my understating, police car lights are equipped with three different colors: red, white and blue," Okwueze said. "My client's car only has two lights. Based on research, I do not believe that by having two (different) colored lights, you are in violation of any type of laws."

As for Rosen, he is continuing his investigation and asking anyone who has ever come in contact with Bell to call his office.

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