"Ride-A-Long" means to be an official passenger in a patrol vehicle, accompanying a police officer during part of a normal tour of duty. The primary purpose of a police ride-a-long is to provide an opportunity for the community to see firsthand the day-to-day workings of law enforcement in Laurel. The ride-a-long guest receives important insight into what it means to be a police officer. Criminal Justice students and people interested in a career in law enforcement have found it particularly useful. Participants complete an evaluation form at the conclusion of the ride-a-long to aid the department in monitoring the program's effectiveness. The ride-a-long program fosters a better understanding of the challenges, hazards and rewards of the police officer's role in the community.
- to provide an opportunity for citizens to get to know their police officers
- to provide citizens interested in a career in law enforcement an opportunity to examine the job
- to educate the community about the responsibilities of police officers; what to expect and why if they ever have a need to call for police assistance
- to provide an opportunity for police officers to get to know their community
- Ride-a-long requests must be submitted at least 48 hours before the desired ride-a-long date.
- No one shall ride until approval has been granted and a properly completed waiver has been signed. The Patrol Commander will make notification.
- No observer will accompany the officer while transporting or booking prisoners.
- At not time shall an officer, while accompanied by an observer, engage in pursuit driving, respond to a violent crime in progress, or perform a felony traffic stop, unless they deposit the observer at a safe location.
- A records check should be made of the potential ride-a-long candidate.
- Ride-a-long participants are only permitted to ride between 0800 hours and 0200 hours.
How do you sign up for a Ride-A-Long?
You must complete and sign an application form and return it to the Laurel Police Department. As an applicant for Laurel's ride-a-long program, you must authorize the Police Department to conduct a background investigation to determine your qualifications. All information is confidential as required by Maryland and Federal statutes.
The following are requirements for being considered for Laurel's Ride-A-Long program:
- Citizens 16 years of age and older may ride;
- The applicant must not have participated in a ride-a-long in the past 90-days;
- The participant must be willing to ride for a minimum of four (4) hours;
- Department employees in civillian support are eligible with the approval of the Division Commander.
- Area colleges and other educational institutions conducting inern education programs are eligible as a part of course work (not limited);
- Members of an officer's family or acquaintences are eligible;
- No ride-a-long participant will be allowed to ride while carrying a firearm, unless the participant is currently a MPTC certified active police officer with another jurisdiction in the State of Maryland.
The Ride-A-Long participant must agree to abide by the following rules of conduct...
- Observers shall, at all times, remain under the complete control of the assigned offer and comply with all directions.
- Observers shall not interfere with investigations in any way by conversing with victims, suspects, or witnesses unless directed by the assigned officer.
- The observer must be of good character, not likely to endanger the safety of the public or officer.
- Minors must have a waiver form signed by parent or guardian.
- The participants attire must be neat, clean and conservative. The observer shall not wear any type of clothing, jacket, or baseball cap with a logo that might suggest that he or she was a police officer.
- No alcoholic beverages on breath or consumption of same while participating in the ride-a-long program.
- All cameras and recording devices are prohibited.
- No firearms or other weapons may be carried, unless the participant is currently MPTC certified active police officer with another jurisdiction in the State of Maryland.
- The observer shall be in good health. No persons with servere colds or illnesses will be permitted to ride-a-long.
- Observers must remain in the patrol car at all times unless told to do otherwise by the host officer.
- Observers must wear a seat belt when the vehicle is in motion.
- Observers must not become physically or verbally involved in any incident.
- Bring a meal, or money to purchase a meal.
- In the event of a serious situation, the officer will ask you to wait in a secure and safe place.
- Any information overheard regarding a criminal investigation is confidential in nature and the observer shall not discuss that information with anyone.
Click here to download an application (pdf format) or for further information, contact the Laurel Police Department at 301-498-0092.
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