NewsDeSoto, Highlands, Hardee County


Lake Placid teen arrested for impersonating officer, making traffic stop

Posted at 12:41 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 17:19:24-05

LAKE PLACID, Fla. — An 18-year-old from Lake Placid was arrested Wednesday for impersonating an officer after he conducted a traffic stop, authorities say.

Harrison Alexander Howes pulled over a 20-year-old riding an ATV on a paved road and told him he had the authority to get him arrested, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office says. He was driving a black Ford Explorer with red flashing lights mounted on the inside.

"I have no idea what he was thinking," Highlands Co. Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, Scott Dressel, said.

Howes asked the man questions about his address and if he had any weapons on him, deputies say. He told the man he was with fire rescue. Though he isn't, deputies say just days before this incident Howes applied to become a volunteer firefighter.

"Traffic stops are dangerous. They're dangerous for very experienced law enforcement officers and for somebody, who had no training, to be doing a traffic stop is not only illegal — it's very dangerous. (It's) not smart at all," Dressel said.

Howes was charged with two third degree felonies, impersonating a law enforcement officer and conducting criminal acts under the color of law.

Detectives believe he's done this before and are asking anyone with information to contact Det. Roger St. Laurent at 863-402-7250 or email

"We are trying to find out if maybe he has stopped other people and if he has, we'd like to hear from them," Dressel said.

Howes attorney told ABC Action News over the phone Howes and his family are not going to comment about the case. Howes attorney said he has entered a not guilty plea.