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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. >>>


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    lilweir09

    about 4 years ago

    126 Comments

    As a Criminal Justice major and an aspiring officer, I have been able to do several ride-alongs and this article is outstanding, My first ride-along was with a Lt. of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and before we started the shift the basic rules and guidelines he set forth are outlined in this article. I have had the privalege since to ride with officers I personally know as well as meeting and riding with new officers of various agencies, all of whom have become great personal friends. The best advise I can give for a first time rider is the "follow instructions." If you fail to do so, it could cost you your life or the officer's life.

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    guarddog45

    over 4 years ago

    218 Comments

    My 1st ride along was great! I was participating in our town's first Civilian Police Academy, was the 1st to show up and have made some great friends through the program. The academy was to help the PD with their Community Policing program and I think it did the job. It was so successful that they had 2 others that I know of. I'm a Criminal Justice major & it was nice to get a "bird's eye" view from the inside. I actually went on several ride-alongs and with each one learned so much from the Officers that I rode with. It was kinda funny as every time I went out they would talk about all the stuff that usually would happen on their shift...and every single time I was with them, they would have a quiet night. I mean, I would have liked some adrenalin stuff as well, but talking with the Officers was an education I couldn't get anywhere else and I value what I learned from each and every one of them. Our class was required to fill out all the paperwork before we were even able to sign up for the Ride-Alongs. It's nice to say "Hi" to the Officers where ever I see them in & about town because I feel that I can approach them now where before the program, it was like an invisable line existed....Them vs. Us. The program actually helped my midlife decision to go into Criminal Justice.
    The article was helpful in informing other folks what they should wear & how they should act. I wore chinos,my security shoes, and a polo top because I already figured that 'others' would assume that I was associated with the PD in some way. Its like going on an interview, dress to fit in & not embarrass the Officer. Until I was able to get a "feel" for the Officer I was with, I generally stayed quiet unless I had a Q and we just went from there. Great experiences that I will never forget.

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    Nancym

    over 4 years ago

    332 Comments

    I had my first ride along with 2 awesome officers at different times of the evening, both were very educational and had the ability to ask and see 2 different points views one being male and female.I had a blast learned so much and motivated me so much that I was like man can't wait to become one. I am in the academy now so far good grades and learning as much as possible.

  • Asafari_max50

    northgalaxy1

    over 4 years ago

    88 Comments

    It's awesome to have the ability to appreciate what you guy's do for a living first hand. Hero's to some,sworn enemies to other.The stuff that makes legends!

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    derick89

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    anyone that tries to go on a ride along and has a warrant out are just plain stupid, good story by the way.

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    nightwatch

    over 4 years ago

    356 Comments

    great info i'll be sxure to save this

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    redmondp

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    thats pertty coo

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    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Thanks for the 411 !!!!

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    SunshineinGB

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    Definitely true about wearing layers! I did a Ride Along with a K-9 officer back in December and the windows are open for the dog to breathe! Talk about wicked cold Wisconsin winter! So of course to compensate the officer had his heat blasting! Layers definitely were handy. Hot in the car, freezing outside! Excellent experience overall! The officer was even kind enough to show me some tracking and drug detection work with the dog. He also gave me some excellent points to consider as far as getting into the K-9 field. All the officers we came in contact were really friendly and just a great group of guys. Green Bay PD rocks! :-)

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    TheCopDoc

    over 4 years ago

    220 Comments

    Thanks, Gabriel. I hope you and your military comrades are doing ok. We appreicate your service to the nation! Stay safe so you can come back, switch uniforms, and get back to patrolling the streets.

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    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Good Article Mr. Weinblatt

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    auxmccop

    over 4 years ago

    38 Comments

    I have done several ride-alongs with my brothers from other agencies. I always go with the attitude I take when I hit the streets at home--which is NOTHING IS ROUTINE! As far as attire, I try to be as comfortable as possible, while being prepared should "the S**T hit the fan". Plain black shirts, black BDU pants, and tactical boots are my personal rule while doing a ride along. And I ALWAYS wear body armor.

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    Heitmann

    over 4 years ago

    8 Comments

    What about izods? I don't typically wear button down the front shirts it makes it hard to get out of a jacket or sweater and I can never get the collar straight also t-shirts make excellent towels I keep one in my bag in case I get junk on my shirt or fall into something very dirty or smelly. Or I need to shower and change my shirt in a hurry. One time I had no towel and I used a t-shirt to dry off. All my button down the front shirts are for church or are formal except for the izods. Am I going to have to tuck my shirt in? I almost never do. It makes a perfect rag for wiping junk off my glasses and makes removal easier if something got on me. Since Iwas a lab tech so I'm used to icky things getting all over me, stuff that might just expode one fine day killing a bunch of people. That's one more thing I'll have to get used to I bet. Remembering to tuck in my shirt and use a shirt sleeve to clean my glasses. Question how do police officers wrestle folks tto the ground on TV and emerge not seeming all that dirty or without braking their shirt or completely destroying their clothing? If it was me I'd have a spare shirt in case somebody puked on me or my shirt caught on fire or the dog peed on me or I spill lunch on it. I was a lab tech a I managed to get junk on myself all the time. Ts are cheaper to replace and there are no buttons that get in the way or fall off. Long sleeves are dangerous when working with mixers, paper making equipment and in places like that so a smart lab tech wears short sleeves and cheap clothing in case they wreck it entirely. I imagine cops have alot of icky things to handle they see even worse than lab techs. Lab techs only have to worry about getting blown up, burned by chemicals, not getting stuck with broken glass, getting stuff all over them and keeping people in the lab safe. Cops have to worry about icky stuff, being blown up, shot, stabbed on top of everything else they have to deal with that is seriously messed up.

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    Heitmann

    over 4 years ago

    8 Comments

    What if you wantto take your own food? I have some problems with somethings most people can tolerate. I react badly to sugary food and certain things cause me grief but it isn't life threatening. I know basically what I'll have a problem with eating. Would it upset things if I brought my own lunch?

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    Heitmann

    over 4 years ago

    8 Comments

    It's nice to know the poor officer is as lost by this whole thing as I am. Thanx for telling me that. It helps to know he's just as anxious about this whole thing as I am. I mean the dude has a gun that alone spooks me.

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