11 April, L A.S.
Tucson Day Two: Police Ride-Along!
Yesterday (I went to bed right after I got home) I got to go with my cousin, who is a cop, as a “citizen observer”, meaning I got to ride with her as she worked her patrol shift. It was a fun and interesting experience for me! I got to wear this nifty blue and yellow “Observer” vest, ride in a police SUV, and ask my cousin questions about how various police stuff works. I like seeing behind the scenes of different people’s professions, especially fairly dangerous professions like cops. I’ll walk you through some of the highlights of the ride-along shift.
First, at the police station, I got to sit in on the briefing. I was happy and impressed to hear the sergeant give an impassioned lecture about excessive police force: how outright wrong it is, how stupid it is, how bad it makes the honorable profession of policing look, and how much harder it makes officers’ jobs when they actually do need to use a justified level of force or interface with the public. I’m concerned about the militarization of American police, and the number of excessive/unjustified force incidents that go unpunished, so seeing some strong anecdotal push-back against misconduct warmed my libertarian heart.
Once we got into her patrol SUV, my cousin showed me the basics of taking and responding to dispatcher calls, and how to run vehicles’ plates, which was all pretty neat. She responded to a confusing and uneventful call of alleged disabled-adult abuse, and pulled over a couple people for missing insurance and a broken headlight.
The most interesting call was a shoplifting incident at Target, so I got to learn a bit about Target security there, which was cool. Didn’t know, (though it makes sense) that they have plainclothes security people patrolling around.
I got to see the lights and siren and a bit of high speed in response to a burglary, but, other cops handled it before we got there so that didn’t go anywhere. It seems to happen fairly often that an officer may respond to a call, but then someone else gets there first and resolves the issue without a need for further backup. I liked learning little details of patrolling like that.
It was a slow shift from what my cousin told me, but, I had fun learning and seeing some details of how being a patrol cop works. Definitely gives me more respect for the role! Today, I’m going on a hike, so I’ll have more pictures from that tonight!