The German-based company Master-Equipment, which previously sold replica law enforcement badges and shipped them overseas, has been shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency said Monday.
The company came under investigation following the arrest of Daniel Harbison, who unknowingly pulled over an off-duty Doraville, Georgia, police officer while posing as a Drug Enforcement Agency agent back in April. Harbison, who is a convicted felon, was equipped with a fake badge from Master-Equipment, wore a DEA t-shirt and carried a firearm.
“The production and sale of genuine-looking federal badges by Master-Equipment potentially places a badge in the hands of individuals, like Daniel Harbison, who are not law enforcement but use them for their own purposes,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.
Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, added, “While this case was initiated by an unlawful traffic stop by an individual impersonating a federal law enforcement officer, those circumstances and consequences could have been much different and far more tragic,” referring to precautions that must be taken in a post 9/11-era.
FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett, who said he can’t recall such a take-down of a company ever occurring in the past, pointed out that individuals with the “realistic looking” badges could “use that as the advantage in getting that one door open at the airport that would otherwise be shut to them.”