Rules & Regulations for the Ride-Along Program
The ride-along program is intended to be an education tool for participants. It is designed to acquaint citizens with the complexities of police work, promote community relations and provide insight of police department operations. All participants in the ride-along program will utilize a seat belt while in a police vehicle.
Forest City Police Department actively encourages members of the public to participate in the ride-along program for a variety of reasons. Such persons include, but are not limited to:
1. Civilian town personnel and communications center employees as required for training purposes who have a desire to enhance their skills and knowledge;
2. Students, above the age of 18, for educational purposes who are enrolled in Basic Law Enforcement, criminal justice program and/or are departmental approved interns;
3. Officer’s spouses and/or other family members for the purposes of gaining a general understanding of the officer’s job and related stresses. As a general rule, the officer’s spouse should not be assigned to ride with their spouse;
4. Active members of organizations such as Citizens Police Academy, Leadership Rutherford, etc;
5. Prospective police department applicants;
6. Others approved by the Chief of Police to promote and improve community relations.
General Guidelines for Authorized Civilian Riders
1. Any person requesting approval to participate in the ride-along program must complete and submit a Request for
Ride-Along Form prior to riding with officers.
2. Approval to ride as a civilian is solely at the discretion of the Chief of Police. Special conditions may be attached to any
approved request as deemed necessary by the Chief of Police. Such conditions may include but are not limited to:
a. Persons requesting permission to ride must be at least 18 years of age. This prohibition may be waived by the Chief of Police. Any civilian rider under the age of 18 that is approved by the Chief of Police must have the Ride-Along form
signed and witnessed by a parent or legal guardian in the presence of the officer or the form must be notarized.
b. Civilian riders may be assigned to specific officers.
c. Civilian riders may be required to participate in an orientation consisting of rules and requirements for civilian riders
prior to the ride-along.
3. Civilian riders participating in criminal justice programs such as Basic Law Enforcement Students, students currently
enrolled in a college criminal justice program and approved departmental interns will be given precedence over civilian
riders not in such programs. Civilian riders not enrolled in established programs and/or candidates for police employment will normally be limited to 3 ride-alongs per year. The Chief of Police may grant a civilian rider additional privileges at his discretion.
4. The following is a list of rules and regulations that apply to ride-alongs:
a. Riders shall wear appropriate clothing and maintain a business-like attitude;
b. Riders must recognize that they have no arrest powers and their participation is limited to that of an observer. Civilian riders will remain inside of the police vehicle when on calls for service, traffic stops and other official duties are being performed.
c. Riders may request to ride with specific officers and officers may request permission for specific civilians to ride with them. However, the assignment of civilian riders to specific officers will be at the discretion of the Watch Commander unless otherwise specified by a higher authority.
d. Riders are prohibited from carrying or possessing firearms while riding in departmental vehicles, unless certified and employed as a full time law enforcement officer in the State of North Carolina.
e. Civilian riders are prohibited from consuming any alcoholic beverages for at least 8 hours prior to the scheduled ride- along.
f. Probationary police officers normally will not be authorized or approved for civilian riders; and
g. Generally, there shall be no more than one civilian participating in a ride-along at any one time on any shift, except as approved by the Chief of Police.
Requests to participate in a “Ride-Along”
1. Prior to participating in a ride-along, interested persons must complete, sign and submit a Forest City Police Department Request for Ride-Along Form to the on duty Watch Commander.
2. The Watch Commander and/or higher departmental authority will conduct a cursory background check of the civilian.
3. The Watch Commander, upon completion of the background check, will provide a recommendation to either approve or deny the application for the ride-along and then forward the request to the Assistant Chief of Police. The Watch Commander will provide comments and reasoning for the denial of a ride-along request.
4. The Assistant Chief of Police shall review the request and make a recommendation to either approve or deny the ride- along request. The ride-along form and the comments and reasoning for denying the request will be forwarded to the Chief of Police for final approval.
5. The Chief of Police or his designee will make a final determination of the ride-along request.
6. The Watch Commander will notify the applicant of the final approval or denial of the request.