I want to express my gratitude and share my ride-a-long experience. The first thing I had to do was contact the Colorado Springs Stetson Hills Area Command to schedule my ride-along. I read the department’s ride-along program policy and I received instructions on what I had to do to fulfill the necessary program requirements. Once the initial paperwork was done, a few signatures, a waiver and a criminal background check, I was ready to go.
On the day of my ride-along while in the waiting room I met another person who was on a ride-along for class credit as well. After newly hour of waiting I finally met my officer. The officer that was chosen to allow me to ride-along was a female officer. Following her introduction we headed out to the Charger. I was giving a walkie-talkie with an earpiece so that I could listen to the communication from the dispatch. We entered the vehicle, buckled up and started on our way. In the cruiser the officer had logged into her laptop to check her files and looked at any updates on her calls. I was informed that my experience would vary just as much as the calls that the officers went out on from day to day. Some of my responsibilities were that I had to be self-sufficient, be able to think ahead, have the ability to know where I was and most importantly enjoy myself.
Our first call was about an attempted shoplifting at a Safeway store. I had the opportunity to drive around the neighborhood and see homes were suspected criminal activity was believed to be. We also responded to a runaway from home. The last thing we did was make a traffic stop for an expired license plate registration.
The great thing about the day was that I was able to ask her questions about how police procedures work and how they operate.
My hope after this experience is that more people will carry themselves in the manner I observed during my ride-along and recognize what an asset and a delight our officers are to our city. I am now a huge fan of law enforcement because all the officers I saw or had contact with were kind, helpful and efficient. They often work alone, in remote areas. What was interesting to me was the amount of conservation the Officer engaged in. It was revealed through the ride-a-long that Officers do much more than enforce laws. An Officers job is much more than writing tickets. They conduct ongoing public relations. What a wonderful experience for me to see officers respond to incidents involving citizens and watch them handle situations in the same way I believe I would.
I now have a completely different outlook and understanding of what our men and women in law enforcement must do every day to keep us safe. I was very impressed with the way they all conducted themselves while performing their duties. They were professional and tactful in the way he interacted with the people they had contact with throughout my ride-along. Each person was treated with the same level of respect. Watching the officer perform her duties made me feel completely safe as she showed complete competence. I found this experience to be informative and I saw a side of law enforcement that most of us never see. I recommend that others in our community spend time with our officers, as I did.
My ride alone ended up after four hours and it was certainly eye-opening experience. I sympathize so much with the police officers now. Also I think that everyone should go do a ride-along program at least once in their lifetime, it will change the way you think about them. By the time we finished, I didn’t witness any arrests or have the opportunity to blow through any red lights with blaring sirens but I was still impressed. For me it was a pretty fulfilling shift. I got to participate in the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Ride-along program and I got to ride shotgun with one of the Springs’ finest. She even offered to let me stay on until her shift ended if I wanted to. The officer said that this ride-along was a pretty run-of-the-mill shift. Fortunately, there was no major violence during my ride. My hope, after this experience, is that more people will do a ride-along and recognize what an asset and a delight our officers are to our city.