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Posted: 2/18/2006 5:02:22 PM EDT
I'll be going on a ride along with the Maryland State Police and the Anne Arundel Co. Polide Dept. relatively soon. I'm 19 and I go to Norwich U. (The military college of vermont) and I've been going back and forth about taking a commission in the Army or going into Law Enforcement. I believe that either profession would suite me but I figured that the best way to see if it was for me was to go out on a ride along. I don't know If (assuming I decided to be a police officer) being a highway cop or doing something more "on the streets" would be for me. I think county policing or perhaps in Baltimore City would be the most "exciting" (I bet you all think im naive)

So, my question is: What kind of questions should I ask while on my ride alongs? What proper ettiquette do I need to know? What should I wear? (haha)
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 7:34:32 PM EDT
First impressions are important!! Depending on what agency your riding along with, stick with asking questions that relate to their department. Though, general questions pertaining to law enforcement are alright. As for ettiquette, I think the officer whom your riding with should explain policy and procedures to you. Wear something professional looking.

Best advice, have fun and enjoy the ride along! Good luck!
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 7:36:32 PM EDT
From left field: The most professional Officer I ever encountered was a MSP three years ago when he pulled me over for a speeding ticket. 85 in a 55 and he was 110% professional and courteous.

Link Posted: 2/18/2006 10:11:43 PM EDT
Many departments have a dress code for ride alongs, so ask. If no dress code, slacks (dockers) and a collared shirt (polo or long sleve shirt). Look professional. Wear appropriate footwear.
Turn your cell phone ringer off. Use the cell phone as an emergency device, not a social device.
Dont carry weapons (OC, gun, baton)Most departments forbid it. If the Officer is comfortable with you they will explain where everything is in there car.
Use common sense. If you ask questions, do it privately.
Have fun, I always do
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 10:17:26 PM EDT
Seat Belt is a must , and follow all his orders, stay in the vehicle unless he or she states otherwise
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 10:28:48 PM EDT
Don't stick your head out the window and make siren noises.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 10:31:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2006 10:34:07 PM EDT by AZ-K9]
Sit down, shut up and hold the FU*K ON!

Personally, I like the idea of having worked some crappy streets and still think of hypo's as taillight chasing tax agents. But I still like them cuz they occaionally poach in my area.

That said, if you do go into LE work, work the streets. Only caveat is if you could get a hypo job doing interdiction work, I'd do that.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 1:11:44 AM EDT
Make sure they loan you a vest and give you a radio, I won't give anyone a ride along unless they are wearing armor at the least and I prefer them to have a radio if things go bad. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, just call out the street names or address on your radio. Most likely nothing like that will happen but you never know.And of course, have fun.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 8:58:05 AM EDT
Big thing is dress appropriatly, b/c as mentioned before first impression is HUGE. Dont be afraid to ask ?'s, but let the guys talk to you. Treat the officers with respect, if you ride with a Sgt. call him Sgt. they like that.

But when I was starting out i rode all the time, like 5 days a week, and I fell in love with LE.

Enjoy
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 9:23:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TrOoPeRcHiN_:
I'll be going on a ride along with the Maryland State Police and the Anne Arundel Co. Polide Dept. relatively soon. I'm 19 and I go to Norwich U. (The military college of vermont) and I've been going back and forth about taking a commission in the Army or going into Law Enforcement. I believe that either profession would suite me but I figured that the best way to see if it was for me was to go out on a ride along. I don't know If (assuming I decided to be a police officer) being a highway cop or doing something more "on the streets" would be for me. I think county policing or perhaps in Baltimore City would be the most "exciting" (I bet you all think im naive)h.gif

So, my question is: What kind of questions should I ask while on my ride alongs? What proper ettiquette do I need to know? What should I wear? (haha)



Thanks for posting this. I am planning to go for my first ride along real soon. Lots of gang activity around here, so I have been pretty curious as to what to expect.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 12:19:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/21/2006 7:49:09 AM EDT by highdraglowspeed]
Be a sponge. Explain to the officer why you are doing the ride and what you hope to gain from it.

Don't tell the officer he or she should have done this or that. There is method to this madness. For instance he/she won't go running into a big brawl by their self. They may sit and watch this going on til backup gets there.

If you are out of the car on a scene don't interject into conversations unless asked too. But by all means do so if you see a weapon or other danger.

Try to ride the whole shift. If you are lucky you will get to see a little bit of stupid, scary, and very boring. Oh and paperwork.

Ask questions in the car after things have gotten back to "normal", if you don't know then ask.

As others have said, dress for the occassion. Have fun. Be safe.

Hope that wasn't on a negative tone. This comes from observing, observers.

Best of luck to you.

This is a job/career where you can really do something worthwhile for your fellow man. You can make a difference. You will see and do things that no one should ever have to. You will feel things, that will test your faith. You will share bonds that are seemingly unbreakable. If you do this with compassion and courage you will have the time of your life. Money is secondary.

Link Posted: 2/19/2006 12:41:57 PM EDT
All good information so far, "highdraglowspeed" nailed some god points. Pretty much you attitude, shown in both the way you conduct yourself and dress, will make the impression. It's called a ride along and it's just that. You aren't the cops backup or anything. Not saying that if he starts getting beat he will not appreciate you joining in. Don't show up wearing BDU pants, boots, duty bet, etc. MSP has a professional looking uniform and you should look the part. Even though you really don't represent the Dept. the public will look at you as if you do. MSP will appreciate the good image.

I don't know anything about Norwich U but assume you have military courtesy engraved into you by now. Use it at the station/HQ but don't overdo it with the officer you are with.

Also skip or at least don't dwell on firearms, pursuits, etc. Yeah that is the fun part of police work but there is much more. Ask all around questions.

If things go well with the person you are with get contact information and ask if you can use him as a reference in the futyre. Not a main reference as he dosen't know you that well but he can attest for you character especially if you apply at his department.

Good luck and lets us know how it went.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 1:55:57 PM EDT
Bring a flashlight!!
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 7:50:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
Bring a flashlight!!



But don't use it.

I hate being backlit. Shitheads are drawn to the light.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 8:30:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 3:39:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By highdraglowspeed:

Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
Bring a flashlight!!



But don't use it.

I hate being backlit. Shitheads are drawn to the light.





+1!! I've had more officers do that to me. Some people seem to be scared to walk in the dark!!
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 9:16:24 AM EDT
Not a LEO... just putting that out there.

But when I've gone on ride alongs, I've always attempted to pay for the meal if we grabbed one. Some officers won't let you, others will appreciate it. Basically a way of paying back for them putting up with you for a night or day.

Ride alongs are a kick in the pants sometimes. Been on about 10-12 over the years. Great stuff.

-d
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 11:25:56 AM EDT
great info from everyone. A few things to add...

Be up front and say that you have no idea about law enforcement and want to learn because you think you might want to be a LEO. If they ask you why, be prepared to give them a thoughtful, no bullshit answer.

You will be assigned to someone who doesn't know you. This kind of sucks since as a whole, law enforcement officers aren't a very trusting bunch when it comes to strangers. Try to resist the urge to talk alot in an effort to break the ice.

Also keep in mind that the officer you end up being assigned to may not bee too happy to have you with them at first. Sometimes you just want to be by yourself and it sucks when your sgt. tells you that you will have a ridealong with you all night.

Link Posted: 2/22/2006 11:41:15 AM EDT
Second guess everything the officer does! You'll impress him with your knowledge!

Link Posted: 2/22/2006 4:15:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By markm:
Second guess everything the officer does! You'll impress him with your knowledge!




... and then you'll find yourself back at the station being asked to get out of the car and go home.

-d
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 7:00:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NorCal_LEO:
Practice 'yo street. Here is a test:

"I got beefed on the ho stroll for some rigs, but ain't never went down."







Ok so some Cop fished out your dope syrienges and you were arrested but never did time?
How's the translation?

This is one I heard right out of rookie school on the street.
I'm Jonesin for the stuff and that glass dick sure looks fine.
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 7:43:07 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/23/2006 12:32:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dizza:
Not a LEO... just putting that out there.

But when I've gone on ride alongs, I've always attempted to pay for the meal if we grabbed one. Some officers won't let you, others will appreciate it. Basically a way of paying back for them putting up with you for a night or day.

Ride alongs are a kick in the pants sometimes. Been on about 10-12 over the years. Great stuff.

-d



Along the same thoughts...don't expect the officer to buy your lunch!! (had a rider actually do that once).

Questions not to ask:
Have you ever shot anyone? That is none of your business.
Have you ever been shot at? Again, none of your business.

Good questions:
What do you like most about being a police officer?
What do you like least about being a police officer?
What made you decide to become a police officer?
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