A Virtual Ride-Along: Waco P.D. Opens a Window with a View into Our Police World
by Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, Waco Police Department
On August 1, we conducted our first “virtual ride-along” at the Waco Police Department, giving citizens a bird’s eye view of our world. The goal was to let you, our community, into our profession from the comfort of your home or wherever else you access your Facebook or Twitter accounts. We wanted citizens to see what the daily activities of a police officers’ shift might include and, man, they got that!!
Those participating in the virtual ride-along started the day with an individual who had one too many margaritas and needed to visit one of our local emergency rooms. Then we introduced our K-9, Hondo, who discovered some crack cocaine in a vehicle. Then “riders” got to see the gentler side of policing when Officer Evans responded to a “Vicious Dog” call: The officer ended up a petting the dog, and the supposedly ferocious beast hopped into our squad for a ride to the Animal Services Center…wagging his tail along the way. And, there you have it! Our recent virtual-ride-along…This is just one of the things we would like to do on a consistent basis to get our citizens involved with us. (To see all the pictures from the virtual ride-along, click here: A night with Waco Police Department through a virtual ride-along.)
If you virtually followed along with Assistant Chief Holt and me that Friday, you hopefully became more aware of what and how we conduct business. I tried to put a bit of personality with the badges to show you that, yes, we are actually human! We can pet a dog, grab a bite to eat, and give a kid a break on his birthday. We can deal with the humdrum of the paperwork, and then switch gears with a moment’s notice to rush to the scene of an injury accident, or to put a drug addict in jail. It’s all part of what we do.
We police are at times a strange and distant lot. We don’t often show much personality when we deal with the public. Much of this is due to the simple reason that our jobs can change so quickly. As a police officer you can go from changing a light bulb because your dispatchers sent you to a recently widowed “she’s our Mom type” who was afraid to go out after dark, to the next minute standing in an alley spitting out your teeth because some thug sucker-punched you in the face because he didn’t want to go back to jail. YES!!! It can all change that quickly.
We don’t often ask for the public’s sympathy and that’s because we know…NO ONE made us sign up for this job. It was a conscious choice to become a Police Officer and one that if given the opportunity — even though we know the good and bad — most of us would make again.
Policing is a life choice. Once you are in, you become part of something much bigger than any “one” of us. You are a part of something that has stood the test of many years, protests and naysayers. We do what we do best, and that is to protect and serve our community.
We Waco Police are fortunate to serve in Waco where we have a good relationship with our community. No, it’s not always perfect, and it is something that will always need constant attention. However, Chief Stroman believes that continuing to be transparent and open about “your” Police Department is one of the best ways to foster a positive and trusting relationship with our citizens. So stay with us, be a part of us and this community, be proud of YOUR Waco Police Department and the City of Waco, and as one of our commentators from the Friday night virtual ride-along said, “Put on the Popcorn!!” In other words, stay tuned as there is more to come!!….”One Adam 12…One Adam 12… see the man at……”
This week’s Blog was written by Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, Spokesman for Waco Police Department. (Facebook: WacoPoliceDepartment; Twitter: WacoPolice). If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco blog, please email AshleyT@actlocallywaco.org