When I received the opportunity to ride-along with a police officer from the Homewood Police Department, I jumped on the chance. Some of you may have heard of these ride-alongs, but I had no idea that normal citizens are allowed to simply hop in the car with a cop and join them on their daily shift. I went during the morning shift on a Tuesday, so my experience was nothing short of uneventful. Unfortunately, I don’t have a story about a high speed chase through downtown Homewood on a Tuesday morning. However, I did gain some fairly useful (and not so useful) knowledge during my ride-along, which I’ve compiled together to share.
- Don’t let your license plate tag expire. The police well-trained to spot expired tags, so it’s second nature for them to look at the tag on every car in front of them. This is one of most common ways to get a ticket, and you can easily avoid this problem by renewing your tag each year. Fun fact: if you go to renew your tag between the 10th and 25th days of your designated renewal month, you’re less likely to wait in a long line.
- There is an entire store of police officer uniforms, and it’s actually pretty fun. We visited McCain Uniforms, and it is basically a police officer’s candy store. They have Oakley sunglasses, fancy flashlights, the latest duty belts and everything in-between. Even as someone not in the police force, I quite enjoyed wandering around the store and trying on the fun hats.
- They don’t eat donuts (at least that I saw), but they do love breakfast. Since I did my ride-along during the morning shift, I got to go to breakfast with several of the officers. They have a few different locations around town that they frequent. On the morning I went, they chose De Vinci’s Pizza, which had surprisingly incredible breakfast options. (Click here to see their breakfast menu.)
- “10-4” is actually a phrase they use – a lot. I knew before this experience that “10-4” was the radio communication code for affirmatives, such as “understood” or “copied.” However, I thought it was more of a phrase that people said for fun, not one that police actually use frequently for their radio communications with each other. Not going to lie, this really excited me.
- Police officers really aren’t out to get you. Cheesy as it may sound, they’re here to help us. We may hear about police letting the “power get to their heads,” etc., and I’m sure there are some who do. But the majority of these men and women are hardworking people who just want to help their communities and keep us safe.
To see more photos from my ride-along, be sure to pick up our upcoming issue of Exodus in December.