PAPD Citizens Police Academy – Part 2

Sit-A-Long & Ride-A-Long

I don’t think I mentioned the Sit-A-Long & Ride-A-Long in the PAPD Citizens Police Academy – Part 1 post, so here I’ll talk a little bit about each experience.

Sit-A-Long with Palo Alto Dispatchers

This was a really interesting experience.  The job of a dispatcher is incredibly stressful and complex, and their ability to multitask is remarkable. I sat in a room with four dispatchers, each with about 4-6 screens and saw how they worked; receiving calls, listening to the radio, dispatching police, medics, firefighters, and updating the system. It wasn’t a very “busy night”, but I did get to hear many different calls.


The Rid-A-Long experience was my favorite activity! Our ride-a-longs are only supposed to be 4 hours, but I had such a great time with the Sargent that he let me ride for another two hours.

I got to see a great part of how police men/women work and how they put their lives at great risk to keep our communities safe. I arrived at the station just before six and was introduced to all the officers that were working that shift. I was on shift with 3 officers, a trainee, and the K-1 dog. We then went through briefing, where they read and discuss what had happened during the last four days. After that they checked their gear and we got into our cars! I can’t say much about what we did because of privacy concerns, but we did make quiet a lot of stops.

The night shift was a great experience and I’m looking forward to the next time I’ll be able to ride-a-long with an officer (thinking about requesting a morning shift next time).