"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 no 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.
or for further information, contact the Laurel Police Department at 301-498-0092.