June 26, 2013
Earlier this year I decided to attend Independence Police Department's Citizen's Academy. What I wanted to get was more information about how the police department works, and what to expect, both as a librarian and as a citizen, when calling the police. Along with attending comes the opportunity to do a police ride along. Although the Academy has been interesting and informative, the ride along brought the experience to an entirely different level. In addition to being several parts terrified, a few parts bored, but most of the time having fun, it was a great experience that I would eagerly do all over again.
I decided to go on a Friday night and was pretty pleased that I made it through the entire shift. I arrived at 6:45 p.m. at the police station and found a pretty large group of people in the lobby. Apparently it was an oddly heavy night for ride alongs. After some confusion about who was going with whom, I landed with a fantastic officer who I can only hope will be the first on scene if I ever need IPD assistance.
Our first call was pretty brief, as we just headed back into the lobby to check on a domestic dispute. The second call of the night was fairly intense, lasted quite a while, and caused a significant drain on police resources for at least an hour. That was when I first saw how quickly a situation can escalate, how intense it can be, and then the boring part that came with waiting once it's all over. That call was finally wrapped up around 10:30 p.m. and then we finally got our first QuikTrip visit.
While I don't want to give out too many details of the ride along, I'll say that I was very impressed with the professionalism and the responsiveness of IPD. I did gain a lot of insight into how calls are prioritized and how the priority affects response time. Every officer is doing his or her best to respond to every call they get, it's simply that every call has a different risk factor and has the potential to escalate quickly.
If you're a resident of Independence or visit any of the three Independence branches of MCPL (South Independence, North Independence, or Midwest Genealogy Center) with frequency, then I'd recommend a ride along, and you don't even need to go to Citizen's Academy to do it. I'd actually recommend a ride along no matter which city you live in. It's a great way to get perspective on what the men and women in uniform are doing for you and your city.
South Independence Branch