Pineville man charged with impersonating police

Published 4:05 pm Friday, June 2, 2023


Bell County K-9 Sgt. Adam Southern responded to a call from Middlesboro Police on May 24 to a complaint of a possible police-impersonation incident. Middlesboro Police Capt. Joe Holder reported a tag number and description of the vehicle and advised Southern that Randall Carnes of Pineville was operating the vehicle that had just left Tractor Supply after the incident occurred.

While Southern was patrolling the area, he saw a vehicle matching the description traveling northbound on Highway 25E. Southern turned and followed the vehicle initiating a traffic stop near the Bell County Solid Waste transfer station. Upon contact with the driver, Carnes, 62, told Sgt. Southern he had just left Tractor Supply and was headed home.

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Carnes was asked if he had shown a badge to anyone, or had warned them about a traffic violation they committed. He told the sergeant he followed a vehicle in the parking lot of the store, walked up to the occupants after they parked, and told them they had bald tires on their vehicle and needed to fix their tail light. Carnes also stated he flashed the badge because he “didn’t want to get shot” and was just trying to be nice and let them know.

Carnes was found to be in possession of a 1990s Bell County Sheriff’s Office badge in pristine condition and a snub-nosed .38 Special revolver concealed in a towel in the passenger side floorboard. He also stated that the badge was given to his father who had been passed down to him. It was determined that the father was never a sworn officer with the department and that Carnes unlawfully represented the Sheriff’s Office with the intention to induce another to submit to false authority.

Carnes was arrested and lodged in the Bell County Detention Center where he was charged with impersonating a peace officer.

Southern was assisted by Chief Deputy Jared Smith; deputies Austin Poindexter, Jody Risner, Rick Dorton, Holder and Officer Caleb Ayers. The Sheriff’s Department thanks the Middlesboro Police Department for the cooperative efforts in bringing this incident to light ending in an arrest.