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10 Tips for Ride-Alongs

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

4) Don’t Touch!

  Most officers will give you a tour of the car when you start the shift. They’ll show you the radio that is their lifeline to communications.  As the officers and tele-communicators in PoliceLink-land know, the dispatcher is an important person to the responding law enforcer.  If they are in trouble, the radio is the conduit for getting help.

Don’t play with the radio or change the frequency channel.  Officers are very protective of the controls in their “cockpit.”  If they do instruct you to call for help, or you have to do so when they can’t, press the button on the side of the microphone for a moment to allow the repeater to kick in.  Then talk clearly and succinctly.  Let go of the button to allow the dispatcher and other units to talk.  Be sure to know which is the radio microphone and which is the public address (P.A.) mike.

And while we’re at it, don’t touch the radio to change the station or CD.  Depending on departmental regulations, some officers with take home cars are able to install satellite radio, CDs, and other audio devices.  The same goes for the in-car computer.  This is their mobile office and they spend eight, ten, twelve plus hour shifts in this environment.  They have preferences on how things are arranged and will not appreciate a visitor altering things without being requested to do so.

#5: Eating Etiquette >>>

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    I was once a civilian police academy I'm a part-time police dispatcher.....and let me tell you first hand not only is it an awsome experience, it gives you a first hand look at what an officer goes through in a days work and it helps me to be able to know how to help my officer when called upon to do so. If I'm in the cruiser.....I still take my job seriously because god forbid we ever have a call "Officer Down" I'll know how to get my officer help if I need to. And trust me, you'll have more RESPECT for an officer after you go with them to see what they do to keep you safe!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    Great article! As a civilian/activist, it has been my pleasure to do many ride-alongs. I always ask for their call sign in case they get in trouble, but thankfully, have never needed it. Another thing to keep in mind is that the language that LEO's use can get foul at times, so if you are easily offended, best to stay home. Several times, suspects tried to engage me in conversation (one even thought I was the LEO's supervisor), but I have enough common sense to know not to respond to them--especially since they were drunk every time! Most important is to keep quiet and engage in conversation that will help develop trust between you and the LEO. The highest compliment is for them to tell you that you can ride with them whenever you'd like to....that comes with trust and confidence that you as a rider aren't going to do or say anything stupid.

  • On_duty_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Wow, such a great article! I went on a ride-along with my local PD when I was in high school and it was a very enjoyable experience. The three basic rules that byecruzer listed pretty much cover all the bases, and this article covers it more extensively. Either way, if the ride-along follows these rules, he/she is sure to have a good time. And now that I'm the officer and have had ride-alongs, I can certainly respect one who respects my space, doesn't talk too much, and dresses appropriately.

  • 08


    almost 5 years ago


    This is really great advice, especially for those of us who are applying to law enforcement. Thanks.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    The Department that I went on ride-alongs with had three basic rules: 1. Don't touch anything inside the car. 2. Stay in the car unless the officer directly tells you to get out. 3. Don't talk to the suspects or arrestees (or "monkeys" as they affectionately called them). These rules are just kind of the basic, "rule of thumb" tips that'll keep you out of trouble on a ride-along. It was an excellent experience and I encourage you to try it if you already haven't.

  • Apvbadgeheader_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    If you do a ride along remember this is the real deal so pay attention to the officers instructions in the event things do go south.
    Don't participate in confrontations with suspects keep your eyes open and mouth shut. You can escalate a situation even with the best intentions. If the officer needs your help with a suspect it would be unusual but wait until asked.

  • Profile_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I am a 10 year vet in police work. But have not been a police officer since 1986. I rode with my local police a couple of times in the past 6 months. I truly enjoy getting back on the street. I did run my mouth a lot though..haha!
    I look forward to riding again..when time permits. You would not believe how much better it is for the police officer than it was so many years ago. So much more equipment to keep them safe and make work more efficient! I loved the lights on the sides of the vehicles that would light up the alleys! We only had our headlights and one spotlight in my day! They had just come out with the vests when I left. The cars are still the poor repair. In the car with which I rode, the brakes screamed at each stop! How in heaven's name can an officer sneak up on anyone or slowly ride an area with all that noise. Sometimes...saving money for a department seems to be more important than keeping the officer safe. This needs to change!

  • Coloradologo_max600_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I recently went on a ride-a-long with an officer who is a friend of mine. It was a great experience, and I felt comfortable asking questions because I knew the officer. He said he was glad to have me because it helped make the day go by faster having someone to talk to.

  • Img_2238_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Good Article. I go on Ride-A-Longs as a civilian and also help with our police explorer program, I realy enjoy going out and lerarning. i will admit, I have lerarned alot just sitting in the passenger seat. It realy opens ones eyes and give a complete new perspective. I have learned important info if I were pulled over as to why it is so imprortant to see my hands, and why it takes so long for the officer to come up to my door, or why the officer may go to the passenger door, As well as many other items. Most of the population has no clue as to what really goes on out there.

  • Img_1348_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Ive done some in other states, its a lot of fun specially when you already have gone through an academy. Its interesting to see how other departments do things.

  • P_mville_2_3_665_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    This is very good and useful information. Everything mentioned is how a Ride-Along goes. I've done numerous ride-alongs while involved in a citizens academy and criminal justice classes. All the officer/deputies were really friendly and provided some good information about every call we went on. It would be wise to not drink to much water,etc before or while on a ride-along.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    almost 5 years ago


    Very good information. I will be checking with the agencies in my area to see if the permit ride alongs.

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