Police Ride Along – What’s It Like in the Eyes of the Police?

Zak Gaines

On March 1st, 2021, I went on a ride along with an officer from the Fort Smith Police Department. Here’s how that day went.

We get up and get dressed on a Sunday morning, and for a ride-along, you have to wear business-like attire so it shows a good example for the police department. As we got dressed, I ended up wearing a button-up shirt with a hoodie and jeans, mainly because it was rainy that day so my hair wouldn’t get wet.  We then drive to the police department and clock in.

We go to the dispatch room upstairs, and they did a background check on me so they knew if I do or don’t have a bad background such as warrants, arrests, or tickets, etc. Once we were done with that, we went back downstairs so we could go to a briefing and figure out what today was going to be like. We ended up being on “beat 10,” which is the area around the mall in Fort Smith.

We started our shift around 12:25 pm, and about 2 minutes into the shift, my dad and I got called out to a motor vehicle accident where someone had ran through a stop sign and hit the back left end of the other vehicle, causing the opposing vehicle to spin and hit into a light pole. Both drivers were ok, not injured besides scratches due to the crash between the vehicles.  The car that was “assumed” to have ran the stop sign was a silver four-door crossover.  After getting both vehicles towed, the tow truck had to call ANOTHER tow truck because the other one broke down while in the middle of towing one of the cars.

Our second call of the day was a person with schizophrenia at Baptist Health hospital. They proceed to try to drag a patient out of the hospital while three doctors were trying to pull the person off of the patient. For privacy reasons, I cannot state the name.  The person who was trying to drag the patient out of the hospital also had a doctor in a headlock.  Two other police officers arrived on the scene a couple of minutes after we did. As we walked into the hospital and into one of the rooms, the two officers were proceeding to try and pull him out of the hospital.

We then tried to do paperwork while running radar on a 35 mile an hour road.  As we were doing paperwork, I caught someone going 55 in a 35. I signaled to my dad that there was someone speeding, and we  caught up to a red four-door truck. We wrote a warning for them, and sent them on their way.

All images are stock footage, no pictures were taken during the ride along.