We all get a little nervous when we see blue lights in the rear view but Patrick Portman says his traffic stop on Sunday had his heart beating out of his chest, even though he knew he had done nothing wrong. It turned out to be an easy mistake that could easily happen to anyone.
"The police officer pulled directly behind me and within two minutes my van was surrounded,” Portman said.
On his drive home from his office on Beechmont, Portman says he suddenly found himself at the center of heavy deputy attention.
"I heard them come on the loud speaker to say put your hands out the window so I was of course shocked but I did it. I put my hands out the window,” Portman said.
It turns out Portman's license plate came back attached to a ‘Ray Neil' who police say is facing a felony warrant out of Missouri for unlawful possession of a firearm. He is a man Portman doesn't know and attached to a license plate number Portman says he's had for two years with no problems.
"He asked me for my social security number. I gave it to them and they could clearly see that they had made a mistake and I was not the individual they were looking for,” said Portman.
"It does happen and it probably happens more than people realize,” says Jeffrey Hawkins, a former police officer and now a consultant for law enforcement and public safety.
Hawkins says it could come down to a simple typo or a similar license plate that is attached to the felony warrant and immediately put the cops on their toes.
"Whoever is entering that information could be off a keystroke on a car license plate or somebody's driver's license number or even a date of birth so those identifiers may be off so it's a legitimate hit as far as the street officer is concerned but it may be an administrative error on the original jurisdiction that entered it,” Hawkins said.
"It's very frustrating,” said Portman who says he has spent the last two days calling every office he can think of in Missouri to get the mix up cleaned up. He even replaced his old license plate to keep from getting pulled over again.
"No one is able to pull the information from the system to get it fixed and I think that seems to be the biggest frustration is that it doesn't seem to be an easy process to get this resolved,” Portman said.
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office have not made a comment about this particular incident.
Hawkins says anytime a plate comes back with a felony warrant, officers take every precaution to protect themselves which explains why they approached the vehicle so carefully.
Hawkins says if you find yourself in the same situation, it's best to comply with the officers until all the details are sorted out.
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