Ride-along

The name for this story did not come from the current movie blockbuster.  It’s simply the name of an activity that I participate in from time-to-time.  I do ride-alongs with the police department.

Why? you may ask.

There are a number of reasons.  First, it shows our officers that the public supports them and has an interest in their jobs.  Second, it allows me to get to know the officers personally which, I hope, will result in faster response time should I ever dial 9-1-1.

And third, it’s just plain fun.

Cops have a wealth of equipment at their disposal, much of it fastened to their belts or crammed around the seats of their cars:  weapons, flashlights, radios, radar, cameras, a computer.  Fascinating stuff to a boring old accountant like me.

On my first ride, the officer showed me how to operate the radio in case of an emergency.  Translation:  if the officer got shot in the line of duty, I could call for backup.  That situation was tied directly to the release form I signed before I got in the car, promising that my family would not sue the department if I died during the ride.

Law enforcement is a dangerous occupation.

After hearing of my adventure, my son went on a ride-along at his university.  When the officer got out of the car to check a building and told Chris to stay put, he asked what to do if she got shot.  He thought she would instruct him on radio use.  Instead, she said, “I guess you duck.”

Different departments apparently have different policies.

Fortunately, I’ve never been hurt or felt in danger during a ride-along.  But I also never knew there were so many crazy people until I took advantage of this unique opportunity.

There was the guy who was wearing three or four pairs of shorts, the pockets of which he stuffed with fragrances he hoped to steal.  When the arresting officer with whom I was riding, put him in the seat behind me, I almost passed out from the cloud of cologne that entered the car with him.  It was an interesting ride to the jail, with the guy kicking the back of my seat and yelling, “Shit!”

And then there was the lady who called the police because she believed some sticks of butter had been stolen from her refrigerator.  Seriously?

One person expected the officer to shoot the birds that were sitting on the roof of the house next door.  Just being a good neighbor, you know.

When a female officer went to a home to investigate a loud music complaint, the partiers didn’t show a lot of respect for the badge, laughing and joking while the officer tried to talk to them.  Turns out, they actually thought she was a stripper come to entertain.

Okay, so maybe law enforcement involves a lot more than danger.

Drama?

Comedy?

The job seems to defy description.

Almost makes me glad I’m simply an accountant.

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