SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Sylacauga Police are putting their best foot forward and offering a better look at what is like to be a police officer with their ride along program.
The ride along program allows the public to ride in a police car with an officer during their shift. Individuals can request both a specific time and officer they would like to ride with.
“The Sylacauga Police Department’s Civilian Ride Along program is designated to better educate the community on what the police department does on a day-to-day basis,” said SPD Chief Kelley Johnson.
While the ride along program gives the community an up close look at the day-to-day life of a police officer, it also gives individuals the opportunity to familiarize themselves with officers throughout the department.
Here’s what you need to know if you are considering taking part in the ride along program.
Rule 1: To be considered for the ride along program you must meet one of the following criteria
- Be a resident or business owner within the city limits of Sylacauga.
- Be either a spouse or other relative of a current employee of the Sylacauga Police Department.
- Have an interest in a career at the Sylacauga Police Department.
Rule 2: You must complete a civilian ride along application before being considered for a ride along. Applications can be picked up at the record office Monday-Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.. Completed applications can be submitted to the program coordinator at least 48 hours before the requested ride along. A record check may be done on each applicant through the National Criminal Justice Information Center. Individuals may submit an application only once every 90 days from the completed ride along.
Rule 3: You will be required to comply with all directives given to you by the officer to whom you are assigned. Assignments will be made as they meet the departments needs. If you have a specific request as to which officer you ride with, you should that to the patrol supervisor. Civilians must remain with their assigned officer unless otherwise directed. Assigned officers will make the determination as to whether or not the civilian should leave the patrol vehicle.
Rule 4: Civilians taking part in the ride along program are not permitted to be armed regardless as to whether or not they possess a valid pistol permit. This does not apply to certified police officers as addressed in the eligibility requirements. Police officers are assigned duties that may involve a danger to human life. These instances will not be avoided during a civilian ride along. Every reasonable effort shall be made to ensure the safety of all parties, but the officer’s first responsibility is to carry out their assigned duties.
Rule 5: Ride along participants are not permitted to ride more than 12 hours, a normal tour of duty.
Rule 6: Participants may not bring cameras, tape recorders or any other kind of electronic recording device as it may conflict with evidence collection. During your ride along you may be exposed to privileged and confidential information and must agree not to discuss such information with anyone. Participants may, however, be required to appear as a witness and testify in court.
Rule 7: Civilians participating in the program are required to present a neat clean appearance when they show up for their ride along shift.
Rule 8: Civilians shall not interfere with operations in any way by conversing with victims, suspects or witnesses, handling evidence or equipment or otherwise participating in any manner unless directed to do so by the department personnel. An officer may instruct you to return to the patrol vehicle at any time and for any reason if your presence may endanger yourself or others, or if your presence may hamper an investigation or other operation of the department. Officers will immediately report to their supervisor anytime a participant refuses to comply with any directives or interferes with that officer’s duty. The supervisor shall make a determination as to whether or not the ride along should continue, be reassigned or be terminated.
The Sylacauga Police Department’s 38 sworn in officers work tirelessly around the clock to ensure the safety of those in their community.