This past Friday evening, I had the opportunity to ride-along with the Greenville Police Department on a patrol. The night was chaotic and wild, taking us to the scenes of home burglaries, dog attacks, and eventually a high-profile arrest involving illegal weapons and drug trafficking. During this five-hour adventure, I learned nine important things about police departments that I believe everyone should know.
1. Police are fed up with media portrayals of them.
I found out quickly that police officers are sick of the portrayal they're given by the national media. These men risk their lives, their families, to keep us safe. Then they are thrown under the bus any time one officer screws up in any part of our expansive country. Not all officers are the same.
2. That police officer you thought used his lights to get through traffic is actually responding to a call.
So don't be that guy that calls 911 to report an abusive officer using his lights to get through traffic. Officers are trained to only use lights and sirens in on-going crimes or reports of violent ones, that means the majority of their calls fall out of that category.
3. Be honest and you won't regret it.
When you get pulled over, if the officer asks you a question, just be honest. No one has ever lied during a traffic stop and gotten away with it.
4. Don't call 911 unless it's an actual emergency.
Every police department has a non-emergency number, put it in your phone and don't clog the airwaves.
5. Being an officer invites you into a family.
You roll together, eat together, and cover each other's backs no matter what.
6. You'll understand just how dangerous the job is.
That gun the officer found under the front seat could've just as easily been used to harm him or her.
7. You'll finally understand the police codes.
Plus, you'll hear some weird calls about men in underwear with knives. Not kidding.
8. You may just find a new found interest in law enforcement.
Who needs an accounting degree when you can chase perps all day long?
9. Do a police ride-along.
Seriously. You can apply online through your local department. In our world where we too often criticize police for their responses, it's good to be educated.