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10 Tips for Ride-Alongs

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

5) Eating Etiquett

  Officers work hard and rely on each other in sometimes life-threatening situations.  Eating on meal breaks is an important part of the culture of policing.  Sitting at the table will give you a personal and in-depth understanding of their world and their perspective.

Let the officers pick the eatery.  You should eat prior to going on duty since you may have a high call volume shift and be unable to stop.  If you and your host officer are able to take a break, the picked establishment may not be the type of food you would normally eat. Pick food off the menu wisely, so that you don’t end up needing the officer to make a high speed run to a bathroom.

While many agencies have policies that prevent officers from accepting free or discounted food, it is not your place to discuss it at that point in public.  If a discount is not extended to you as a civilian guest, you certainly should not pound your fist and demand that your bill be adjusted.  On the contrary, if you are able to, I suggest you pick up the tab for the officers present in appreciation for them including you in their world.  If the restaurant management insists on cutting the bill, you should leave a tip on the table that equals or exceeds the full-price check.

#6: Less Talk, More Listen. >>>

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 6 hours ago


  • New_avatar_4_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    When I first moved to San Antonio, I took a ride along with an SAPD officer who had eighteen years experience on the force.He was working day shift, so we didn't see a lot of excitement.It was fun and I learned a lot.My agency recently discontinued the practice of allowing ride alongs due to the liability.

  • Av-109_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Great information, though its a shame many agencies fail to realize the usefulness of the ride long program. I would also say ask relevant questions. I mean sure small talk is nice, but often times some questions are well, just plain stupid to ask if they aren't relevant to the field or the situation.

  • 12_week_old_brindle_male_pm_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Awesome !!!!!! Thank you so much!!

  • 13739_1324712157564_1223686236_972375_5153671_a_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Lol my first ride along sucked, I rode with my old man, he cuffed me and threw me in the back seat. Lol He thought it was funny...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    Mostly a good article. I disagree about the meal though. As an officer, it would be rude of me to take a rider to a place that will be costly for them without a discount. I would never expect or accept a rider paying for my meal either. In fact, I pretty routinely buy dinner for my ride-a-longs. I have been where they are. I know what it's like looking for a job. Plus it's a good opportunity to show off your agency.

  • Wind_therapy-_angel_max50


    about 4 years ago


    informative, Regular citizens can request a ride along, you have to fill out the request form and await your background results.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    They should expand this to include most regular citizens too. Most of them are completely unaware of how most of the interaction is driven by their behavior and response to the officers more than what the officers need to do. Just remember as a citizen you should be - truthful helpful pleasant respectful and appreciative - and you will double your warnings versus citations for driving mistakes or whatever.

  • Maa_class_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    When I was a Police Explorer, we got to go on ride alongs. They were definately fun and intense. I have been on traffic stops, loud parties, dead body call, grave yard surveilance, etc. these definately are some good tips to hold on to.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    I can't wait to be involved in one of these. :)

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Very helpful! Thanks!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    About to go on a ride along soon thanks for the tips ... and DALLASCRANE good add in

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Number 11... Bring a small, powerful flashlight. In an emergency or wreck it may come in very handy.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Ok, I get that a ride-along can be dangerous, but my town put on (3) of these and I enjoyed each and every one! They were a great bird's eye view into LE, and I still am a CJ student & active member of my community. I feel that a lot more communities would benefit from better Police/Community relations if all Police depts. were able to enact these. If anything, esp. in communities where "racial profiling" occurs, so that these citizens can see what the Cop sees. And let me tell you, there is no way in Hell that if I was on a ride-along & the officer I was with got attacked that I would do Jack Shit Nothing! Yeah, somewhere in the back of my head would be little nagging thoughts about the "trouble" I'd be in, but really, I would deal with that later. I mean, I'm on a ride-along...Our PD did a fantastic job of showing us how to use the radio during re-enactments, so at the very least I would use the radio. Who knows, maybe I would be a good distraction(hahahaha), maybe I could even get some Black & Blues to brag about later(if I had any teeth left). Seriously though, the ride-alongs were the frosting on the cake...they came after(my PD did it along with a Citizens Police Academy that lasted 3 months each)we had classes on basic laws & regulations, scenarios that officers face in which we commoners, the little townies got to play the "Cops" and the officers [that had volunteered to be a part of this Citizen Academy]got to turn around and be us jerky "Townies" instead. It was great fun & very informative on both sides of the fence. I wish they'd do it again, as there are more officers on our PD and I don't know them all now.

  • Cimg4853hero_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    This is a great article! Being a police explorer I have been on my fair share of ride-alongs. All of the officers I know would strongly agree with these key topics. Remember you are a guest in their "office" so you need to treat the car and officer with respect.

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