Taking my son on a ride along

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How many people can take their son to work?

I’m lucky enough to have a job where my kids want to go to work with me. My son, Michael got to go on a ride along this past Friday night. He sees spending ten hours in a police car with dad as an adventure.

As we walked out to my patrol car, I could see the spring in his step. He was ready to go and expected to see chaos at any moment.

Every officer knows that a busy and exciting night for a ride long means paperwork for the chauffeuring officer. A boring night for a ride along means a nice and relaxing shift for the same officer.

There’s such a thing called the “ride along curse.” The curse means that nothing happened and the night was boring for the ride along.

Michael has no idea what the ride along curse is. Each time he has gone it has been busy with us going call to call. After the first ride along he told me he wanted to be a police officer.

Friday night was busy as usual. We went non-stop from 5PM to midnight before things calmed down. There were a couple of things from that night which stood out as funny.

At one particular traffic accident, I had to get into the ambulance before they transported the driver away. I told my son to stay with one of the officers. He said, “Can I go? I’ve never been inside an ambulance.”

Most parents would be glad their child has never been inside an ambulance, which was why it was so funny to me when he said it.

We walked over to the ambulance and I got inside to speak with the driver. I let my son come inside and stand on the first step so he could listen.

We left there and responded to another injury accident. This time he got his wish to go Code 3. I heard, “This is cool,” coming from my passenger side as I passed cars on the wrong side of the road.

After that we went to a call involving a baby who was choking. The location was close so I headed that way with my lights and siren on.

As I came up on stopped cars in front of me,  I started to slow down. That’s when I heard this tapping sound coming from inside the car, but I didn’t know what it was.

I passed the stopped traffic and came up to an intersection when I suddenly slammed on the brake. I decided at the last moment to turn left instead of going straight because it was going to be faster. I heard the same noise again.

I then asked my son if he was stomping down on the imaginary brake pedal on his side of the car. He laughed and said yes. Now I knew what the noise was.

We arrived at the call just as an officer advised over the radio that the child was breathing. We got out of the car just as the ambulance and paramedics arrived. There was nothing for me to do so I walked back to my car. Michael looked like he had been cheated because we were leaving so fast.

Moments before he was stomping on his imaginary brake pedal while going to a choking baby call and now we were leaving. He wanted to see more action.
There were other calls after that, but after four reports and three Code 3 runs later, I had to do paperwork. I decided to head to the traffic office so I could type.

The first question out of his mouth was, “How long are we going to be here?”
I replied, “As long as it takes.”
“You mean an hour?”
“I don’t know.”

He was like an alarm clock, because an hour later he asked if I was done. I told him not yet. He started pacing around and then asked, “Can I help you with something?” I laughed and told him I had to do the work myself.

An hour after that I heard, “I’m bored.”
I told him doing reports was the other side of police work that people don’t see.

I put him out of his misery and we went back outside for one last drive around. I stopped by a donut shop and got him some fresh donut holes.

We then cruised down one of our major highways. At one intersection he asked, “Is that where the boy died?”

He knew the story from a few months ago when my partner and I performed CPR on a ten year old boy at a crash. I was surprised he remembered the intersection from when I showed him during another ride along.

The shift was finally over and I drove back to the station. My son mentioned waiting around for something else to happen. I told him our night was done and it was time to head in.

Once in the back lot, I unloaded my gear and parked the police car. I turned in the key and changed to go home. As we walked out to my car my son told me how much fun he had tonight.

On the way home Michael told me he wasn’t tired yet. We talked about the night and the crazy stuff people do to get into trouble.

We pulled into the garage and we were back in our little world, which was far from the one I work in.

He had fun that night and I hope he appreciates what he has compared to other people. I’m glad I was able to give him a peek into a world that most people will never see or know about.

Right before he went to bed he gave me a hug and he said, “Thanks for taking me tonight.”

It made me smile because I knew he meant it.

9 thoughts on “Taking my son on a ride along

  1. The ride long curse… She was about 18 and a freshman in college. Criminal Justice major who had a hook and got to ride on a day shift. A crash, a family fight and 2 business (false) alarms later we got a call of a neighbor not answering his door. Retired guy, car in his slot and neighbor had talked to him an hour before and was coming back for lunch. Knock, knock, no answer, call the police.

    The young lady followed me up to the second floor of the condos and after no answer we found the maintenance guy and used his pass key. Retired guy is sprawled out on the kitchen floor. No pulse, cold skin, wide eyed college freshman and no portable radio. She recovered enough to use the phone to call dispatch while I did my best to recall my CPR training. He didn’t make it but she got her monies worth.

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  2. Your son is very lucky, both for the ride-a-long opportunity and having a father who is in law enforcement. My father was an Arson Investigator and I spent many times eagerly tagging along to a trip to City Hall, only to find myself sitting and bored, as well. Lol. Knowing what the “other side of life” looked like kept me out of trouble. Thank you for your service. =)

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  3. Been lucky to have taken both my kids on ride along. The curse dose exist however being a traffic cop in the county can also be quit. Never for get her face as I had to wheel around on a red light violation at intersection, think she might have been falling asleep. Son was non-stop 6:32Am speeder that turned into warrant arrest and as she was being placed into handcuffs she see my son standing near the rear of my squad and in a pissed off and demanding tone asked him whi the &*#$ he was. The look on his face priceless.

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    • My son has been on at least 5 ride alongs and he’s only had one slow night. I kidded with him that he has no idea about the curse. The wide eyed look is amazing on them. So fun when they see how life is so different compared to what they’re used to.

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