An up close look at law enforcement – from the passenger seat of a squad car

Carol Stream CPA3

As part of my Citizen Police Academy class we’re each given an opportunity to ride along with an officer for a six-hour shift. It was my turn this past weekend. I had the Saturday night/Sunday morning shift from 8:00 pm until 2:00 am.  What an awesome, interesting experience!

I’ll give a brief rundown of what happened…I was paired up with Officer James Busch. Young guy, early 30’s, married, two young kids. He’s fairly new to the force – just 2 1/2 years. Was in sales for 10 years and then switched to law enforcement. He was so friendly. Answered all my questions. And had questions for me, too. 🙂  We jammed out to classic rock on the radio all night. Very cool! He was the best story-teller. All night he told me about calls he’d been on in town. Some were serious, some were too bizarre to believe. And James LOVES to drive fast! Holy crap we were flying in that Charger at various points during the night!

We hit the street running, nearly literally. I hadn’t been at the station for more than five minutes when I hear a call come in about 3 drunk guys fighting, threatening to kill each other. The door opens and there’s this officer standing there asking if I’m Jamie. I’m like, yep and he’s like we gotta go right now. We pretty much ran out of the station, I hopped in the passenger seat and we were off to the fight call. Way to start off the evening! LOL! Ended up at an apartment complex along with three other squad cars. I had to stay in the car of course while James went inside. He was gone for a good 20 minutes before the situation was resolved. No arrests were made. They got the guys to disburse and for two of them not to come back.

Time for patrol duty after that. Let’s see – we made four traffic stops for various infractions. The cool thing is, once the lights come on on the patrol car, the camera starts running, and so does the microphone on the officer’s vest. So even though I had to stay in the car I could hear everything he was saying along with the person in the car. It was so cool! We wrote three tickets and one warning. Do you know the police have a printer in their car so they don’t have to hand write tickets any longer? Neat! We ran radar many times that night but couldn’t catch anyone speeding! We were both disappointed. 🙂

We went on two noise complaint calls at two different apartment buildings. At one the people had already turned down the music. At the other tickets were handed out. Why? These people were having their **wedding reception** at their apartment with a DJ blasting music! Seriously?? They really thought their neighbors wouldn’t complain?

Most exciting thing that happened was a traffic accident in the left turn lane of a big intersection. At first it didn’t seem serious. It was snowing out so we figured the one guy had just slid into the back of the other when he tried to stop. Hmmm….not so much. Turns out the second guy was drunk and this is now a DUI investigation. Not helping matters is that this guy (he was Vietnamese) apparently spoke NO English (yet we give this man a driver’s license??) and was on the phone using his pastor to translate between him and James. It was beyond a frustrating situation. Even though it was being translated to him, this guy was not complying with commands. At one point he got back in his car and attempted to leave! James was back in the car with me looking at this guy’s history (he had a DIU in 2013) when the taillights come on and he starts blowing his horn at the guy he hit, trying to make this guy move! Thankfully he didn’t and James was out of the car in a flash, yelling at this guy to turn off the car and get out.

A field sobriety test was attempted at that point. I say attempted because this guy failed spectacularly. He was fairly cooperative until James brought out the portable breathalyzer. He put up his hands, shook his head and tried to get back in his car. When James put his hand on his arm he pulled away. That was it. Now we’re resisting. James was done and had this guy in handcuffs in the blink of an eye. He put him up against the front of the squad car and searched him, emptied his pockets, then he was in the back seat behind me, under arrest for DUI. It was the most fascinating thing to watch! Then we had to call for a tow truck to come impound the car. The guy started talking to himself, mumbling as we transported him back to the station for booking. I was just glad he wasn’t combative.

Because James had me as a ride-along and didn’t want to take up anymore of the evening (we’d been out there dealing with this guy for a hour already) we didn’t go through the booking process, just dropped him off so we could get back out on the street on patrol again. We ended the night with a suspected DUI that started off because of some traffic infractions. While James could smell alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy, he only blew a 0.6 and 0.8 is the legal limit so we had to let him go with the just the traffic tickets.

All in all it was a great night and I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience something most people never will. And James said he’s looking forward to seeing me at the Volunteer events. Next time I’m going to get a picture with him!

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