[Available in Spanish. Scroll to the bottom for the link.]
In August, I rode along with an officer from the Mid-City Division and got to experience what police officers do every day. Why did I sign up for a ride-along? I am an intern at Price Charities and wanted to see City Heights from a new point of view.
It was a great learning experience. I got to have conversations with police officers that show how hard they work and everything they do for the community. When I arrived at the station, I was introduced to the officer I would spend the day with. I sat in the passenger seat of his patrol car, and he explained how the computer worked and how we would find out where we were needed. I felt prepared and safe to go help the community.
At the beginning of the shift, we got calls to check on a noise complaint and a possible burglary and then talked to a mother who was reporting a missing child. We spent most of the rest of the day with one man who was arrested after chasing cars in a busy intersection. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and we followed in the patrol car. In the emergency room, he tested positive for several drugs. We waited there for tests to be done before taking him downtown to the San Diego County Central Jail. It was incredible to see how many things a police officer has to deal with – from small safety issues to unthinkable tragedies like the shooting of Officer Jeremy Henwood. I was very impressed by how well they adapt to different situations. The ride-along made me appreciate how much it takes to be a police officer.
My ride-along was only a couple of days after the shooting. Everyone at the police station was still shaken up. I was a little nervous about the ride-along for my own safety, but as soon as I got to the station I saw the officers were focused on their job. Everyone pulled together to keep City Heights’ safety the first priority. I saw community members making donations at the police station for Officer Henwood’s family, and I met officers from the Southern Division who had come up for the week to help in City Heights. Everyone was very friendly to me and answered all of my questions.
Anyone who lives or works in the Mid-City Division service area can do a ride-along, so if you’re interested, sign up! All you have to do is go to the police station and ask for a Ride-Along Request Form. When you sign up, you can choose which 10-hour shift you would like. I chose the 2 p.m. to midnight shift, so I got to see the neighborhood in the afternoon and into the night. You’ll need some identification like a driver’s license, so they can do a background check. You can expect a call a couple of days later to schedule your ride-along.
I want to thank the Mid-City Division for letting me participate. I wish the best to all of the officers and especially, Officer Henwood’s family. City Heights is truly lucky to have such dedicated officers who are out there every day keeping the neighborhood safe.
[Disclosure: Anna Ponting is an intern at Price Charities, the nonprofit that funds and publishes City Heights Life.]