Police ride along is a process by which a person is authorized to ride along with the police officers while on duty. This is an arrangement made by a civilian, a nurse, journalist or any individual who was authorized to ride along with the police officers. They are going to be seated on the emergency vehicle while observing the routing of the police officers while fulfilling duties and responsibilities as a law enforcement official. The legal age for a civilian to ride along with the police officers is 18, which is applied on numerous occasions around the world. If the person is under 18-years-old, a legal consent is required by their guardian or parent to authorize their child to ride along with the police officers.
The purpose of ride along activities towards police is usually affected by personal, professional, and academic issues. In terms of personal, most riders are younger individuals below the age of 18 who are permitted to ride along with the police officers for the whole day. As for the professionals, riding along with the police in a day is usually a part of a professional project. An example is when journalists are going to cover a documentary regarding the operation of police forces. This is when their topic is regarding a disturbing case of human trafficking that is causing a concern in a certain community. For students, it is a part of their academic discipline and requirement to ask for police ride along activities. This is to partially fulfill their academic requirement for a certain subject that is considered the most important project to let them pass a certain subject.
There are beneficial aspects when civilians will be having a police ride along. Civilians are going to explore what it is like to be in a police operational practice. The ride along civilian will start to appreciate the role and functions of a police officer while they are riding along that leads them to an actual police operation. Journalists are able to let the public witness how police officers operates in an area that are filled with criminal elements of the law. There are footage that are approved by the police officers that allow journalists to cover as part of their operation to justify the claims of the law enforcement officials on how criminals operate in their respective posts. However, the only challenge is the process of approving ride along policies by the police force because there are standards imposed before approving ride along civilians or professionals.
Ride along civilians is at risking their safety whenever they are on an active police mission. This includes unexpected encounter with criminal individuals who are heavily armed. There were historic ride along civilians who got caught in a crossfire between the police officers and the civilians. The impact of the situation becomes a very risky scenario. The reason behind is that the civilians are often got killed during the crossfire while other lucky individuals were injured and proceeded to the hospital for further care and management. The worst-case-scenario is when the police officers who encountered an incident wherein the criminal groups overpowered their capacity. The ride along civilians are at risk for getting themselves kidnapped from the scene and will be trafficked for illegal acts and substances (Taylor, 2016).
- Taylor, E. (2016). “Lights, Camera, Redaction… Police Body-Worn Cameras: Autonomy, Discretion and Accountability”. Surveillance & Society. 14: 131.