Ride in a Cop Car (Front seat) with Citizens Law Enforcement Academy
Law enforcement has a problem. They are deeply committed to protecting and serving the community, but how they do that and get home safely each day is a complex story. The Sheriff’s Department provides citizens with the unusual opportunity to dialogue with deputies in a candid, forthright and informative setting. For 17 weeks the citizens are exposed to the delicate complexities of police work and given clear and patient explanations.
Everybody is a little tense around cops, right? These deputies bring their personal experiences, insights and feelings together with what are starkly technical and complex jobs. The citizen comes to understand how it is that only one in 350 candidates make the first cut, what SWAT really does, how does the K-9 smell stuff, intelligence, communications and how real detectives work. It is “hands-on,” the citizens work a crime scene and make really smooth traffic stops. There is plenty more and not surprisingly none of it is like TV.
If you have ever wondered just what that deputy who is wailing away at 90 mph, talking on a cell phone, tapping furiously on the laptop, dodging traffic, making a readiness check and steadying the dog is really doing? You are very likely to see it all up close on a ride along.
Deputy Todd Crawford introduced himself outside his cruiser. He said he liked having citizens ride along and invited any questions. I took him up on it. For the next six hours I had a mindboggling crash course in precise mindfulness, complex decision making, shifting priorities, community considerations, territory management, citizens and officers’ relations, wise and deeply deliberate judgments and the preeminence of safety. He drew his gun that day and he deftly handled people who would have confounded Freud and Wyatt Earp. He is deeply concerned for the community. He profoundly respects everybody, even the bad guys. I set out to meet a cop and I met a hero.
Want to meet some heroes? Call Teresa Wren at 530-621-6533 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be better for it.