And, for better or for worse, my experience was the latter.
Over the course of four hours, my ridealong officer:
They can do this from inside their car, using a computer. So if a cop is sitting behind you at a stoplight, it’s entirely possible that they’re putting your license plate number through their system as you change radio stations.
* Pulled over a guy who was driving with a cancelled license
He wasn’t an American citizen so we spent an inordinate amount of time shuffling through paperwork + passport + international ID cards. The driver was cooperative so the officer decided to give him a ticket rather than arrest him – which he could have done.
* Drove around looking for a suspect who had just stolen a purse from an elderly lady’s shopping cart
Apparently, thieves often work in pairs, targeting the elderly at big box stores. One person distracts the mark and the other one steals the purse. Then they usually fill up their gas tank and head to Target or Walmart where they buy as many gift cards as possible. The gift cards are untraceable so they can use them without attracting suspicion.
When we got the call about the robbery, we drove from gas station to gas station and checked out the Target and Walmart parking lots, but since the description of the car and the suspects was woefully vague we didn’t catch anyone.
* Stopped at Home Depot because there was a 911 hangup that came from one of their lines
What was the most exciting thing that had happened in the last week? Arresting the same guy twice in one day.
Super interesting, right? Even without any car chases! Ridealong policies and programs differ from state to state and city to city (I organized mine through a friend), but many cities have programs in place if you’re interested in doing a ridealong of your own.
Have you ever done a ridealong? Would you? Do any of your work in law enforcement?
photo via tarrant county DA’s office
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