Driver: ‘Imposter cop’ used police lights in personal car

Man accused of using police lights in personal car first identified in “Thin Blurred Line” investigation for wearing police gear.
A driver claims he was pulled over by a man WSMV4 identified as posting pictures of himself where police ID while working despite not being a certified officer.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:45 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 7:04 PM CDT
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WATERTOWN, Tenn. (WSMV) - When Chad Hayes saw the maroon RAV4 on Feb. 11, he immediately called 911.

It was the same vehicle, Hayes said, that just a month earlier, flashed police lights at him on I-40.

“I had trouble with this guy a couple weeks ago, flashing red and blues in this RAV 4 that he drives,” Hayes can he heard saying on police body camera.

According to a police incident report, the driver of RAV4 was Chris Tubbs, the same person identified in our Thin Blurred Line investigation for posting pictures of himself wearing police identification while working security, though he is not a state certified law enforcement officer.

Hayes said on Jan. 12, while driving on I-40 in Wilson County, the driver of the maroon RAV4 flashed the lights when he became aggravated that Hayes was trying to pass him.

“Jerked his wheel back to the left while flashing his little red and blue lights at the back window at him,” Hayes said.

“Did they look like police lights?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.

“Oh yeah. The full red and blue police lights,” Hayes said.

Hayes said Tubbs followed him to a church parking lot.

“I looked right at him and said, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ and he said, ‘We were concerned about you, because you were driving erratically,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he pointed out that it was Tubbs who driving erratically, trying to block him as Hayes tried to pass.

“I asked him, ‘What agency do you work for?’ And he said, ‘That’s not relevant at this point.’ I pulled out my phone out and said, ‘It sure is.’ He said, ‘Why is that?’ And I said, ‘Because you’re about to be reported,’” Hayes said.

Hayes said as soon as he got out his phone, Tubbs drove right out of the parking lot.

“He was about to endanger somebody’s life,” Hayes said.

WSMV4 Investigates reached Tubbs by phone, who denied using the blue lights.

“I’ve never done anything like that in my life. (Hayes) is a damn liar. I don’t care what he says. It was not me. I’ve never pulled anybody over. I ain’t that damn stupid,” Tubbs said.

Along with the Watertown officer taking the police report on Feb 9, Watertown assistant police chief Michael Henderlight arrived and made a realization.

The driver of the RAV4, Chris Tubbs, had once worked as a reserve police officer in Watertown.

While working as a part time reserve officer, Tubbs later went to the police academy but did...
While working as a part time reserve officer, Tubbs later went to the police academy but did not complete it, therefore never becoming certified.(Watertown police)

Small towns can use people who aren’t trained in law enforcement or certified law enforcement to work as part-time reserve officers.

When Henderlight needed full-time officers, he said he instructed Tubbs to become certified.

“Sent (Tubbs) to the (police) academy, where he wasn’t successful in completing the academy,” Henderlight said.

Tubbs then resigned in 2020, never becoming a certified officer.

A year later, Henderlight said he was sent a picture of Tubbs wearing police identification while working security.

“I was like, I was flabbergasted,” Henderlight said. “It’s impersonating a police officer. It really does upset me, because it’s really dangerous.”

Photo sent to Watertown Assistant Police Chief Mike Henderlight showing Chris Tubbs wearing...
Photo sent to Watertown Assistant Police Chief Mike Henderlight showing Chris Tubbs wearing police identification even though he failed to complete the police academy.(Photo submitted)

Tubbs told WSMV4 Investigates that he did wear police identification working the security jobs because it paid more money, but repeatedly denied ever using police lights in his personal car.

Henderlight said they passed along Hayes police report to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office because the alleged incident happened in the county.

A spokesman for the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office said because Hayes himself did not file a report, it was not investigated.

Hayes said he now intends to file a police report.

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