Police Ride Along – Some Thoughts

July 12, 2014

Aurora giving wide eyes in the police cruiser while parked during her police ride-alongBefore going on the ride-along, I just thought about it as this semi-adventure of trying something new and maybe seeing somebody get handcuffed and Miranda-ed and all that.

I didn’t think about all the actual problems in our world when it comes to people and our justice system and all of that.

I talked with officers a bit about the homelessness problem in southern California.

Earlier this year during my 52 volunteer activities, I fed the homeless on Skid Row.

I thought I’d been doing something good and helpful, but when I talked about it with the officers, they said that some programs that just feed people, but don’t give them any other services (such as help in finding a job or a home), don’t actually help them. They said homeless people can grow to rely on free food, and then can continue to stay homeless without any plan for their future.

After hearing about it from the officers’ perspective, I could see how feeding people who are homeless might really not be helpful after all.

We also talked about the high rate of recidivism back into the prison system once someone has already been in it. We talked about overcrowding, and not even being able to arrest people (or keep them) for some smaller offenses anymore.

Maybe in some ways that’s good that people aren’t getting locked away for some smaller offenses.

But I just felt like I left with so many unanswered questions – not because the officers weren’t helpful. They were so open and informative and awesome. But there seem to be some questions that don’t necessarily have answers.

How do we truly help people? How do we curb homelessness? How do we equip prisoners to never end up in jail again?

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?