“A Quiet Night”. Now there’s the “Q” word that you wouldn’t want to say going into a shift at either the Police Department or the Fire Department but I dare say it is safe enough now as we are talking after the fact.
My most recent ridealong with one of the local police departments was pretty quiet. It was on a sunday night – I did a mids shift ridealong (mids meaning midnight shift, 9pm – 7am) – and most people were home asleep. Those that were out were pretty well behaving themselves.
Sadly, the night was cut a little short for me. A couple of guys who were suppose to be working that shift were out for various reasons. At a certain point one of the guys, from swing, who had stayed to help out went off-duty and thus the department pretty much had to go to “minimum staffing” meaning that all officers needed to be able to respond to any and all calls code 3 (full on lights & sirens) – I will admit that it could be interesting to do a code 3 call but there’s also the possible dangers involved in such a call and I’d hate to be put into such a dangerous situation or have a situation where the police could not do their job due to my being there or them having to be concerned with a citizen ridealong. I will say that in many ways this “minimum staffing” goes to show the need for more, properly trained & qualified, police officers.
As I said earlier, not a lot happened that night. There were two traffic stops. One was for a headlight being out and the other was failing to stop at a stop sign (or more specifically a rolling stop). Both were let go with warnings. Which, incidentally, was something me and the officer I rode with talked about during the quiet parts of the shift. At least here, I think this is true of most officers – Despite the bad rep you here through the news and social media, most police officers aren’t after a quota or pulling you over just to see how long they can detain and harrass you (in fact in a smaller department such as the one I rode with they don’t necessarily have the manpower to do such things). In most cases, unless something else happens, they’d just as soon advice you of the situation that needs fixing and send you off with a verbal warning. Even that rolling stop was given a verbal warning to be more careful. In many cases the officers will look at surrounding circumstances to decide if a verbal warning is all that’s needed or if further action is required. Things like time of day and other traffic that is around at the time, was it an honest mistake or was the person being wreckless, all kinds of things come into play in the decision… As I said, most officers are about making the roads a safe place for all and want to educate not through the book at someone for a minor issue. I can’t say that is true for every and all officers out there but for the most part I believe it is.
There was one other “pursuit” (if you could really call it a pursuit”. The guy was going over the speed limit by a fairly significant amount and continued to do so after pulling into a resiential area. He ended up pulling into a driveway and there was no other suspicious behavior (infact I think he even opened the garage door from the car) so nothing further was done about that.
That was pretty well the extent of the night. I think that if I could manage to do it (mids can be brutal if you aren’t use to being up all night) a saturday night shift could possibly fair better in terms of more happening – weekends are like that sometimes.
I do plan on signing on to do another ridealong with another local law enforcement agency that I’ve rode wit before and am trying to obtain info about a ridealong with another. I will write about those as I am able. As I have stated before I am limited in what kinds of things I can write about and how much I can say (particularly as it pertains to the privacy of all involved. I see these ridealongs (both with Fire and with Police) as an opportunity to learn and better understand the inner workings of the departments and how they go about doing their jobs.
My Thanks to all Law Enforcement and Fire Service agencies out there. Thank You for all you guys do in keeping your communities safe.