Springfield MO. Nov. 16 2007
A Missouri State University security guard could face jail time after he was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer for the second time in less than two years.
Brian Armstrong, 31, of Highlandville, was charged Nov. 7 with false impersonation of an officer after reportedly stopping and briefly detaining a female driver near campus on Oct. 27.
He has pleaded not guilty.
A probable-cause statement filed by the Springfield Police Department said Armstrong, who was on probation for a similar incident in Christian County, “gave the victim verbal orders and made statements that led the victim to believe he was a police officer.”
The statement said he detained the woman for about 10 minutes. It states the woman refused to comply with Armstrong’s orders “not knowing what Armstrong’s intentions were.”
Christian County Prosecuting Attorney Ron Cleek said Wednesday that because of the new charge, he would seek to have Armstrong’s probation revoked and a 90-day jail sentence imposed.
According to Cleek, Armstrong used his personal vehicle equipped with flashing lights to pull over a motorist in Highlandville on April 4, 2006.
While he didn’t show a badge, his actions gave the victim the impression he was an officer when he “gave them a chewing out about their driving.”
“He can’t do that,” he said. “I can’t pull someone over. I’m a citizen when it comes to traffic offenses.”
Armstrong was found guilty Nov. 11, 2006 and received a suspended 90-day sentence. He was placed on probation, ordered to attend anger-management classes and spent 48 hours in “shock” incarceration in the Christian County Jail in December 2006.
Cleek said the court papers to revoke Armstrong’s probation will be filed soon and a hearing will be set to determine Armstrong’s fate.
MSU officials admitted Wednesday that Armstrong was allowed to remain a security guard after they became aware of the Christian County incident. He has been with the security department about four years.
Gary Snavely, director of security at MSU, said the university conducted an internal review after the Christian County incident came to light.
The result, Snavely said, was that “we decided to keep him on. He is still with us.”
Armstrong, who was making $22,565 annually, was subjected to a criminal background check when he was hired. He had a military background, Snavely said.
Snavely refused to comment further on the decision to keep Armstrong and added that the report produced by the review was a closed record because it was a personnel matter.
Snavely said a similar review would be conducted on Armstrong’s latest incident “if it’s warranted.”
“I haven’t seen the (police) statement,” he said. “I don’t know the facts. I’ve got to look into what transpired.”
Armstrong, who is out on $500 bond, was charged by the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office.
The probable-cause statement said he was wearing his royal blue MSU security officer uniform and driving an MSU-marked security car when conducting a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Heather Snow of Springfield in the 700 block of East Walnut Street.
The charge is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail, said Grant Story, spokesman for the Springfield Police Department.
Snavely said no other MSU security guard has been accused of impersonating an officer in the six years he’s been at the university.
email comments, questions or news to; email@example.com
Join us at our new forums and message boards at www.privateofficer.com