Youth evangelist charged with impersonating police officer

Published 3:20 pm Thursday, May 17, 2012

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

CALERA — Matt Pitt, the well-known youth evangelist who founded The Basement youth service that meets at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium, was arrested by Calera police early on May 12 on charges of impersonating a police officer.

According to a public information form from Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley, the department received a complaint at 11:57 p.m. May 11 about an unmarked Tahoe on Interstate 65 activating emergency flashing blue lights to force traffic to pull out of the vehicle’s way.

Matt Pitt

Once traffic pulled over, the Tahoe would turn off the emergency lights and speed through traffic. The Tahoe had activated the lights several times, according to Lemley.

Calera police stopped the Tahoe on I-65 in Calera. When officers approached the vehicle, the driver, Pitt, held up his wallet to display a badge and photo identification card.

According to Lemley, Calera officers asked Pitt if he was a police officer, and he said he was a deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Calera police verified that Pitt was not a certified law enforcement officer and arrested him for impersonating an officer. He was then transported to the Shelby County Jail.

Pitt posted a $10,000 bond and was released May 12.

In a phone interview, Lemley said a witness provided the tag number for the unmarked Tahoe.

“It is what it is,” Lemley said. “The officers that responded did a good job.”

Lemley said the case is still under investigation.

An employee that answered the phone at The Basement said Pitt was not available for comment.