16.00.230      RIDE-A-LONG PROGRAM


The Department shall provide citizens and potential employees an opportunity to obtain greater insight into the police profession and operations of this Department.  A carefully managed ride-along program will contribute to this goal.  Understanding leads to positive relationships between the public and police.


The Operations Commander or his/her designee shall oversee arrangements for a ride-along.




Due to the sensitive nature of police work, the safety of the officers and riders involved and the security of the public in general, persons requesting to ride along must meet THE following eligibility criteria:


v     Observers should be a minimum of 18 years of age.  Persons less than 18 years of age may participate in a ride-along if they meet all other qualifications and a parent or legal guardian signs a Citizen Observer Request Form (waiver).


v     A felony arrest history disqualifies the observer from participation in the ride-along program.


v     Observers may ride no more than one time in a six-month period.  The ride will be for four hours and will be with a Patrol officer unless the Operations Commander approves an exception.


v     Observers must be a law enforcement officer, a Police Department employee or volunteer, a Citizen Academy student, a Police Department applicant, or a friend/relative of an employee.  The Commander may grant exceptions to this rule.


Employees may participate in a ride-along on-duty provided they meet all eligibility requirements and are approved by their supervisor.  For training purposes, employees may be scheduled more frequently than specified.


The Department will not honor requests by observers to ride with specific officers.  In fact, care will be given to place observers with an officer other than the one requested.  This program is for learning purposes, not a social event.  Exception:  Spouses, children and immediate relatives are exempt from this requirement.


All requests for a ride along relating to charitable auctions, dignitary rides or other extraordinary requests will be directed to the Operations Section Commander.  In the absence of the Operations Section Commander, approval will be required by a Deputy Chief or the Chief of Police.  Only requests from non-profit and non-political organizations will be approved.


The Operations Commander may approve observers with misdemeanor arrest or traffic offense history, or a record as the subject of police complaints.


Screening and Assignment


Permission to ride requires the observer to submit a completed Citizen Observer Request Form prior to the ride-along.  The observer must sign the form and a Department employee must witness the signature.


The Operations Commander (or designee) approving the ride will ensure a background check has been conducted prior to the ride, including a check of Department records, WACIC and NCIC.


Screening is not required of noncommissioned Department employees or spouses and children of employees.


All request forms, accepted or rejected, will be maintained in the commander’s office for one year from the date of request.


Observers will be notified of their acceptance or rejection to ride by the commander.


The commander will schedule the ride for the observer.


Observers are not permitted to ride in any “C/D” equipped patrol vehicle.


Rules of Conduct


The citizen observer will follow all lawful instructions of any police officer during the ride along.


Civilian riders will not be allowed in the booking area when prisoners are present.


Riders are to remain in the patrol vehicle during police activities unless otherwise directed by a police officer.


The assigned officer will have the discretion to judge conditions and decide whether an observer will be discharged from the vehicle in a safe area away from the scene to which the officer is responding, ordered from the police vehicle or allowed to accompany the officer on any given assignment.


Observers will be advised to dress appropriately for the ride along.  Shift Supervisors have the authority to deny an observer’s participation if the dress is not appropriate.


If the observer’s attitude or actions warrant, the assigned officer may terminate the ride along at any time and report the reason for the termination to their supervisor.  The Shift Supervisor has the authority to terminate the ride along at any time.