So it happened, I had my first ride-along on Thursday night. I began at five in the afternoon and went through the end of the shift, at midnight. Here are some observations.
1. You know how, when you speed, you eyeball cars stopped at the side of the road to make sure they aren't cop cars? You know, you tap the brakes until you're sure it's just someone broken down or out of gas, maybe an abandoned vehicle. Well, guess what? You still do it when you're riding in a cop car! Yep, we'd be cruising along and I'd check out cars parked facing the road, then realize, Hey! I'm in the cop car! Sorry, "unit."
2. Texting is dangerous. You know how I know? There we are, tootling along a downtown street and I look to my right, into the car of the woman driving beside us. She's texting while driving beside a police car, which, as you can tell by my outrage, is not allowed in Austin. Be clear: my outrage is not at the fact that she was breaking the law, but that texting is so obviously distracting that she didn't even see the cop car beside her. Honestly, that moment (looong moment) really crystallized how absorbing texting must be if she had no idea we were there.
3. People are funny. Take, for example, the old boy (picture a gold prospector or sheriff's sidekick in a western movie) who told us all about the band he was in, the $250,000 he was being paid next week for playing at the White House, the weed he smoked with Willie Nelson last week. He was the band's drummer, he said, then proceeded to sing through whistling teeth some unrecognizable song. My cop (okay, I don't own him he just kept me safe all night) listened politely, respectfully, and nodded along. (I, on the other hand, wanted to respond to the singing with, "No wonder you're the band's drummer.")
4. Police officers can hold entire conversations in numbers. Seriously, they don't even know they are doing it. The Sgt. emailed me before the ride-along and said to "21 her when I got to the sub." In some alternative communities, I'm lead to believe that's quite an invitation. Turns out she just wanted me to call her when I got to the station.
Well, that's all for now. Any questions? I'll be riding every week so I don't want to 86 my 91s. Or 22 my 38s. Whatever, you know what I mean.