This has been my third ride along I have completed, and I would say it was by far the most informative one out of the three experiences. Ride along’s really allow the student to observe the day to day operations that our fellow service men and women go through. They help students see the police discretion used first hand and what it really means to wear the badge. I believe you truly must love what you do to be a police officer, you must have a sense of pride behind the badge and care for the community that you’re protecting. I learned that these men and women are truly just about serving the people.
They aren’t out to get everyone, they just want to maintain order and keep those who are dangers to society where they belong, in jail. You can’t hate the police because you made a mistake. There are lessons to be learned in life and I believe the police play a pivotal role in teaching us those necessary lessons. I have had my own particular run-ins with police, the majority of them were fair and I wouldn’t be where I am today if they hadn’t come in to straighten me up.
Even the officer who I believed had racial bias towards me taught me that not everyone is going to like you and that their discretion will not always be in your favor.1 Many people falsely believe that policing is what they see portrayed in the media. Police are constantly being shown beating and killing young black men, but they never show the other side of the altercation. Media only wants to show what will sell, for whatever reason they don’t feel like showing the good that comes from police work. A patrol officers main goal is to make the community feel safe, by using preventative strategies to stop possible law-breaking citizens from making poor decision and being available for service.
From my ride along experience and past experiences I have found this to be the truth.1 By watching officer Goetz in the field, I was able to gain valuable insights into questions concerning why police officers stop certain individuals, why some individuals are taken into custody, while others are not, and lastly how the discretion of an officer affects how they perform their jobs. When I arrived at the police station it was a rainy, snowy night. I was very cold, only wearing blue jeans, dress shoes, and a dress shirt. Officer Goetz noticed how frigid I was and out of true kindness I was given officer Goetz jacket.
I wanted to make a good impression but while I was looking classy I didn’t necessarily prepare for the weather conditions. Officer Goetz showed frustration due to the weather conditions for he says, “Damn rain! It’s more and likely going to be a slow night big fella.”. In my head I sort of figured that would be the case.
I mean who really wants to be out doing delinquent activities while it’s raining out. I also figured he just didn’t want to stand in the rain during traffic stops but he tells me, “It’s not because I care if I am getting wet, I mean that’s uncomfortable but that’s apart of the job. The real issue is traffic stops become much more dangerous.”.
I asked if it was just due to cars having less visibility, but he said, “Sure that makes the situation worse, but what officers are truly afraid of is the unknown. When you’re out by yourself anything could happen when you pull up to the window. If the situation calls for back up, you are having officers race to you on road conditions that could potentially kill the officer in route or another citizen. Ohio drivers suck man.”.
I immediately agreed and saw his perspective. We learned in class the order maintenance of traffic stops are the most dangerous but adding bad weather conditions could definitely deter an officer from making a stop unless it was truly egregious. We got in the car and started our ride along that was mostly uneventful, I did get a lot of insight in how the police system work and eventually was called upon to do a “dirt pat” which is short for direct patrol. We roll up to an apartment building to search for weapons and drugs on foot. Unfortunately, the doors were locked to the apartment building, so we had to turn around and continued our vehicle patrol.
As officer Goetz said it was very slow night so we discussed a few topics we talked about in class. I asked him if he felt safer with an officer at his side. He like I expected said yes, I mentioned how studies show having a partner led to more police and citizen conflicts due to two minds working and possible escalations that may occur due a citizen feeling threatened or an officer feeling too powerful. He said, that maybe the case for many partners but if you have one that you can trust and you are like minded then always feel safer and believe we can better ensure nothing gets out of hand. I felt his passion for the job and asked him what made him chose the police force, he just said he wasn’t the type to be sitting behind the desk, he wanted adventure, one of the myths about policing but he said if you’re passionate about helping your community it’s truly exciting.
The paperwork you are filing is to send a man or women who’s been delinquent in society and needs a wake-up check. Always look at the bigger picture he told me as he flew through red lights like a Nascar driver trying to win the Daytona 500. I was confused and asked him are these the perks of being an officer? Do you not have to abide by same traffic laws? Goetz would just give me a stare, one that said look who I am, I enforce the law, the law doesn’t enforce me kind of look. He just stared and smiled, “Cameron right?” Yes sir, I would say trying to act like it didn’t phase me that he forgot my name, “This is a brotherhood, officers have each others backs and they are gunna let you do what you have to do.” Understanding the police subculture from class it made sense.
So, I asked how does the community feel about the district then? Does district 4 have good police-community relations? He shockingly said no, he talked about the captain a little after that stating Cpt. Martin Mack would use twitter to better inform citizens of the things the police are doing as well as hiring neighborhood liaisons to go out to school districts to talk to kids using the social work model of policing using their coercive power to potentially change young potential lawbreakers into thinking on a mindset of law abiding behavior.At this time, we finally receive our first real call to service. We were called to pick up a prisoner at the local Kroger on 1 west corry st. the man seemed broken and was homeless.
He had stolen $100’s worth of groceries around 10:29 pm we put him in the car and Goetz shows me how to file the 527 which was for the jail house, it basically described the whole incident which he would later do with the 301 which is for the courts. It took awhile for him to get the paper work all together, but he seemed rather comfortable driving while typing. He walked me through the jail house process and we even stumbled upon some officers who were arresting a woman for drugs but told them she was he cousin by name. This absolutely infuriated the officers, Goetz telling me the liars are the ones we punish the most, saying “we try to throw the book at those who try and think we are stupid.
” I enjoyed hearing this for I too can’t stand when someone thinks I’m inadequate. He decides to drop me off at the station after this long process but before we go shows me a little perk about being in service. He says watch this and takes me to McDonald’s.
They ended up letting us through with $15 dollars’ worth of food for free. He said it was his treat for the night being so uneventful but tells me I’m always welcome back.This experience showed me truly how much the community respects and appreciates what the men and women do for our city. It helped me understand that this is truly what I want to do in my life and that the myths of it not being as exciting as it is on tv may have been true but it was still exciting to see the passion the men and women carried when the left for their beats.
District 4 only made me more prepared to go into service when my time comes. A time I know I’ll cherish his ride along, while uneventful and rainy it made me find a stronger passion for my community.