All citizens can sign up for a ride-along and learn what a typical day is like for a PRPD officer
PASO ROBLES — Recently, Paso Robles Press took a ride along with the Paso Robles Police Department (PRPD) and discovered what a typical day looks like for one of our police officers.
Ride-alongs give citizens a chance to ride in the passenger seat with an experienced officer during their patrol shift. Anything can happen during a routine patrol shift, and as our officer said, each day is different. Prepare for a routine patrol to emergency responses and anything in between.
Our ride started fairly typical, and our officer, who wished to remain nameless, began by explaining the inner workings of the patrol car. When on a ride-along, you can ask your officer questions about the department, how dispatch works, laws, almost anything pertaining to law enforcement in our city.
It wasn’t long into our ride when a car was stolen from a nearby town and on 46 West to make their escape. We proceeded to join other patrol vehicles, sheriff vehicles, and CHP on the highway as a precautionary backup. However, the suspect went beyond PRPD jurisdiction, leaving CHP to continue the pursuit.
We then went back to patrolling the streets of Paso Robles. Our officer explained how law enforcement has changed throughout recent years. No longer is an officer just an enforcer of the law. Often law enforcement in Paso Robles interacts with people suffering from mental health. Other times they act as mediators between domestic violence calls, something our officer mentioned is common during day patrols.
A woman was slumped over on a bus stop bench on Spring Street during our patrol. Our officer stopped and checked on the woman to ensure she was okay and asked if she needed anything. She ended up saying she was fine, and we continued our patrol. But this is just an example of the kinds of things our officers look out for while driving around the city.
Our patrol ride involved driving around our officers “beat,” which is like a jurisdiction within the PRPD jurisdiction. Each officer is assigned a beat to patrol, although they aren’t limited to staying within that beat. Constantly, communication within departments is run through the radio and on the patrol car computer showing 911 calls made and who is attending to the calls.
During our patrol, we were able to pull over a vehicle and watch our officer search their car. Other officers on patrol assisted on the stop. Nothing criminal was found in the vehicle, and they were released. After patrolling the streets for a while longer, our officer brought us back to the station for a tour.
The PRPD is located in the Paso Robles Public Safety Center on Park Street, just the next street over from Paso Robles City Park. The Safety Center is comparable to a working beehive. There are numerous combs or departments working within the building. Here, the PRPD and the Paso Robles Fire and Emergencies have their headquarters.
Citizens are welcome to take a ride-along with the PRPD or even a sit-along with the Communications Division. During a sit-along, you can discover the inner workings of the dispatch center, where they multi-task with radios, telephones, and cameras.
Officers at the station will tell you the dispatch center is the heart of the department. Only two people man the communications division; They said it’s not an easy job, but it is a rewarding one that they enjoy. Plus, they are hiring right now in the communication department if you feel you’re up to the task.
Along with dispatch, the safety center has an evidence room, a few jail cells, interrogation rooms, a records department, and Volunteer Patrol Program. In addition, the PRPD has been working on expanding its social media presence to keep open communication with its community.
Although Paso Robles doesn’t have the same extent of crime seen in urban cities, you never know what can happen during a daily shift. Overall, the officers we spoke to say they enjoy working for the department and serving Paso Robles. But they also all agreed there is a lot more paperwork involved with law enforcement than they ever anticipated.
For more information, call the Police Department at (805) 237-6464 or visit prcity.com/318/Citizens-Ride-Along-Program-Sit-Along-Pr