CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– The man accused of impersonating a police officer appeared before a judge and said that he is a bounty hunter.
“I would describe it as a misunderstanding. I would never indicate that I’m a police officer,” said suspecct Leslie Dewayne Simpson.
Simpson said he just wants to clear his name and that he uses his badge for his job.
“I never wanted to be on the media but I feel now that I have to because people are out there slandering my name and making me out to be a bad person, which I’m not,” said Simpson outside of court on Thursday morning.
It all started last Friday near a car dealership in the 3200 block of South Broadway in Englewood.
Police say two women who are process servers went to Legacy Motors located at 3247 South Broadway to serve civil paperwork to an employee who wasn’t there. When they left they were approached by the suspect while in their car parked off Broadway. The man flashed a badge and told them he was a police officer.
According to the arrest affidavit, Simpson told the women, “I’m a police officer, you need to leave now and you need to get out of here right now.”
Simpson said he did nothing wrong and showed off his bounty hunter certificate that he received.
“I never indicated I am a police officer, never will. Every time I come up, I’m a fugitive recovery agent, AKA bounty hunter,” said Simpson.
Simpson said he’s been a bounty hunter for years but did not show his badge that day. That’s because just one day before police warned Simpson against doing so because of a separate incident at a concert.
“But even displaying the badge alone is not as bad as displaying with accompanying words that suggest you are a police officer or you are a sheriff’s deputy or you are a state trooper,” said Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler. “Those are the things that rob this system of the integrity that it needs to function properly.”
Police in Englewood don’t believe Simpson’s case is connected to five other police impersonation cases in the Denver metro area in the past month.
Simpson was arrested in Denver in February for a weapons charge and allegedly impersonating a police officer there. According to those arrest documents he “showed the victim a badge and identified himself as a police officer, which he is not.”
William Ellenburg has known Simpson for three years and worked alongside him as a bounty hunter. He said Simpson would try to intimidate people with his bounty hunter badge.
“He would at times tell people he’s an officer and I had to stop him dead in his tracks and tell him, ‘Look you’re not an officer, we’re not officers of the court, we’re bounty hunters,'” said Ellenburg.
“Whether it’s through a badge, simple statements… the public has to have trust that that person is who they say they are. If not, this system only crumbles but we create a lack of safety not only for that person but for law enforcement, too,” said Brauchler.
Simpson said this is all a big misunderstanding, “I’m struggling to make my name good and to be a good person.”
Simpson has been ordered to surrender any badges he may have. He is free on $2,000 bond.