Experiential paper on police ride along

I've always been interested in how the police truly enforce law and order on the streets as a law student. The New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Ryan, who works at the 28th Precinct of the NYPD in Harlem, and I had an extraordinary encounter on the streets. After I wrote a letter to the NYPD police chief requesting that my request be fulfilled, I was given the chance to ride along with the NYPD officer. I was thrilled to receive feedback from the NYPD police chief affirming that I would be getting a full day on the streets of Harlem with Officer Ryan.

I arrived at the NYPD 28th Precinct in Harlem at 8 am. I was excited about the idea of playing a cop for a whole day, and as a result, I was so early for the ride along. As agreed with Officer Ryan, I was to arrive at 9:30 am at the Precinct. Therefore, I had to wait at the reception of the Precinct where I was warmly welcomed by Officer Riley.

“Welcome son. How can I help you?” she asked warmly.

“I am waiting for Officer Riley to arrive. I have a ride along with him today.” I replied calmly.

“Well, looks like you would make a superb officer today.” She chuckled as she left.

At 9.35, Officer Ryan arrived and went into the information room for fifteen minutes and then came back to the reception with his badge and his pistol. That’s when I knew the most anticipated moments of my day had kicked off. Shortly afterward, we boarded his Chevrolet SUV and headed for Malcolm X Boulevard.

"Brace yourself, son, the streets of Harlem are arguably the most dangerous streets in New York," he said. "Yesterday, there is a drug dealer who refused to allow me to search his house citing that I did not have a search warrant. So in the morning, I passed through the court, and the judge gave me the warrant. That’s where the action is going to begin today.” He added.

I almost jumped off my seat with excitement on hearing the good news, but then I managed to pull a serious officer face and just muttered, "That sounds cool."

On our arrival at the suspect's residence along Malcolm X Boulevard, we got out of the car and headed for the house. Officer Ryan knocked the door thrice, and once it opened, he introduced himself and retrieved the warrant from his pocket. The suspected drug dealer allowed us in, but we could not find any evidence to incriminate him. He seemed to have cleared out his house since he knew officer Ryan would be coming back.

However, in the course of searching the house, Officer Ryan found an ownership contract to the house, and it alluded to a case recorded at the Precinct by a low-income family that had been kicked out of the property by the suspect. Since there had been no evidence for the family to back the claims for the house, the case was still under investigation. Finding the ownership contract was a major development in the case. Despite these findings, Officer Ryan could not help the family without getting a court injunction ordering the suspect to vacate the property. Therefore, we had to turn back and head for the court. After an hour of waiting, our request was granted, and we issued the injunction to the suspect. Officer Ryan also arrested him, and we headed back to the Precinct.

The rest of the day did not have much action as the morning hours. So we just spent the afternoon doing rounds on the streets to ensure that there was law and order. The ride along was an unforgettable experience for learning and action. At the end of the day, I felt that I had been cured of my curiosity.

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