If you squint your eyes, a police ride-along can vaguely remind you of an action-filled, TV-inspired police drama.
On Wednesday, I went to UCPD for a tour of the facilities and a ride-along with an officer to understand the department before I begin another semester at The Daily Californian — this time as the paper’s lead crime reporter.
I had arranged my ride-along experience through Sgt. Andrew Tucker, a campus alumnus who started as a BearWalk-er. We started at UCPD’s main facilities, located under Sproul Hall, where Tucker gave me an informational tour in which I was able to meet staff members from many divisions.
But the ride-along was what I was looking forward to the most. After I strapped on my seatbelt in the passenger seat, we began our ride. Unlike most cop shows, UCPD officer Sabrina Reich said that most cops she has worked with travel individually (thus limiting possible witty dialogue scenes).
For a while we just rode along in the cruiser. Then, dispatch alerted us to a 911 call.
I mentally prepared myself for blaring sirens, speeding down the streets of Berkeley and a life-threatening situation. Instead, the dispatcher told us it was most likely a miss-dial and Reich said she had actually been to this address before for the same issue. In the end, it turned out that the man we were responding to meant to call San Francisco.
We also followed up on a case involving a homeless person sleeping in a campus building and reported a pile of what looked like human feces smeared over a parking-lot door a few blocks down on campus. To finish the ride-along, we gave a parking ticket to an illegally parked car.
In the end, Reich suggested I do a police ride-along later in the day — mine was from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm — to get another perspective on the police department.
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