A Ride-Along with the LVMPDFeb 4th, 2009 | By Megan Edwards | Category: featured article, News from ME
Last night I had the great privilege and pleasure of getting to “ride along” with a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer. I joined her for the “swing shift,” which began with a briefing at the command headquarters. After that, we headed out onto the streets in a black-and-white cruiser. By the time I headed home at midnight, I had witnessed a nonstop blur of police work. I’d seen shoplifting averted at a Wal-Mart Superstore, and I’d watched a trespassing drug dealer get checked in at the city jail. A teen-aged girl who had threatened suicide before running away was apprehended in a grocery store parking lot and taken into protective custody. I observed a K-9 team checking a row of cars for illegal drugs while a surveillance helicopter buzzed overhead.
While the suspects and their situations were undeniably interesting, the officers were what truly riveted my attention. They moved from sternness to kindness whenever either was required. An eagle-eyed awareness of their surroundings and lightning-quick reflexes complemented a near-superhuman ability to multitask. I especially appreciated this last talent. In between radio conversations, online communications, cell phone calls, driving, and scanning the scene, the officer I rode with answered all my questions with unfailing patience.
I went on a ride-along to learn more about police procedure and ensure the novel I’m working on—a mystery set in Las Vegas—is accurate. I’m pleased to report I gained much more than factual details. Getting a chance to watch and listen to seasoned professionals in action gave me concrete appreciation for the work they do every day.
At one point, after one officer had described a murder scene, I said, “I don’t see how you do it.”
“Oh, you get used to it,” was the reply.
Now, every time I see a black-and-white, I’m going to beam a silent ray of gratitude that they do “get used to it.” I, after all, only have to imagine it.