Yesterday I went on a ride along with Ridgecrest’s finest. My brother is a police officer with the RPD (their best man if you ask me) and I went on a ride along for part of his shift. I know we all hate getting pulled over, being issued a ticket, and having to fork out for our driving mistakes. BUT I also know how important the work of law enforcement is– “To protect and serve.” I was proud to be seated next to my little brother, Officer McKay Lauritzen.
I joined McKay at about 1:00, a few hours after some good police action. As fate would have it, once I climbed into the car the calls stopped and we had to create our own agenda. If you’ve ever wondered how an officer’s afternoon goes, the events of my ride along are as follows:
1:45- Traffic stop, 45 in a 25 zone. We pulled over a little 72 year old woman who struggled to gather up the right paperwork. Her insurance turned out to be expired, and once McKay called in the information it came back that her license was also expired. She had to call a grandchild to come pick her up and drive her home.
2:00- A drive through some shady neighborhoods. McKay said “Theses areas deserve my attention.” He recognized a former parolee outside one of the homes and called in to see if a current warrant was out for his arrest. He came back clear and we moved on, cruising to the RC ghetto.
2:11- Message from dispatch. Called a woman complaining about phone harassment over child custody. She also reported someone using her identity while she was in prison.
2:14- Stopped at another officer’s traffic stop, where McKay knew the guy from high school. They had a quick catch up conversation, and then we headed out and left the other cop to finish up. “It’s a small town, you know and recognize people all the time,”- McKay.
2:17- Called in a car plate, came back clear.
2:19- Stopped by a motel that frequently has related calls. Everything looked OK.
2:39- Pulled over a van reversing into oncoming traffic. They apparently missed their turn, and thought it would be easier to just reverse back to it. When they pulled into a parking lot after McKay turned on his lights they went up over the curb into a planter. They got a warning.
2:43- Called to verify back-up wasn’t needed on a shoplifting situation.
2:46- Stopped by another traffic stop of a fellow officer. There was a shattered front window on the car.
2:53- Called on another recognizable previous offender. Came back clear.
2:54- Dropped by another officer stop. Detained parolee, drug check. In the end he was good to go.
3:00- Picked up a surveillance tape from a gas station/convenience store in relation to a previous identity theft case.
3:15- Bathroom stop at home.
3:20- Traffic stop. Expired plates, was issued a fix-it-ticket.
3:45- Saw friends in their yard, stopped to chat.
4:00- End of my ride along.
It was great to see what McKay does on a day-to-day basis. Of course police work is never the same from shift to shift, and they are always prepared for anything to happen. As we first pulled away from the police station McKay gave me instructions on what to do in the worst-case situations. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated thinking about what the craziest calls could bring. I’m impressed McKay can go into each day ready to handle some intense stuff.