CHICAGO — A 14-year-old boy accused of impersonating a police officer and going on patrol has pleaded not guilty.
The teenager appeared in a juvenile courtroom on Monday with his hands cuffed behind his back. A judge ordered that he be held at the juvenile center because he could pose a danger to himself.
On Saturday the teen, wearing an officer's uniform, walked into a police station and was assigned to go on patrol. He partnered with another officer for about five hours before the ruse was discovered.
The boy did not have a gun, never issued any tickets and didn't drive the squad car, Deputy Superintendent Daniel Dugan said.
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Assistant Superintendent James Jackson said the ruse was discovered only after the boy's patrol with an actual officer ended Saturday. Officers noticed his uniform lacked a star that is part of the regulation uniform.
Police said they were investigating how the deception went undetected for so long in what they described as a serious security breach.
Police didn't identify the boy because of his age. He has been charged as a juvenile.
Dugan said the boy looks older than 14 and was motivated by a desire to be an officer, not malice or "ill intent."
The boy once took part in a Chicago program for youth interested in policing, so he would have been familiar with some procedures, perhaps helping him blend in, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.
The Rev. Roosevelt Watkins said the boy had lived with him for much of the past year and is fascinated by police work.
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