Beginning in 2001 the Port Angeles Police Department has offered a formal ride-along program for community members. Persons interested in riding along with a Patrol Officer can go to the PAPD webpage, look on the left tab under "Forms" and open up the "Citizen Ride Along" packet. The packet is 7 pages long because we describe the process, our policy and protocols, and what to expect. You can along pick up a ride-along packet at the Station during business hours.
Once a ride along packet is completed it can be delivered to our Records staff. From there a records check and background review will be completed (this is explained in the ride along packet). A Sergeant or supervisor will follow up the requesting party and schedule the ride-along.
While the Chief, Deputy Chief and other staff spend consider time in community education and engagement, there is no easy way to adequately paint the picture of the how and the why of the work of our Officers absent spending time in a patrol car. Call volume, the constant re-ordering of priorities, requirements for immediate response, limits on our resources. the changing and changed legal environment, what success looks like and the rewards and challenges of profession can be better understood during a ride along.
Often this experience leads to more questions and perhaps a clearer understanding of the issues faced by our Officers. What we hear sometimes from that persons who have spent time on a ride-along is that they came away with a very different perspective,
The PAPD webpage has considerable information about the Department and services we offer. We recommend reading the most recent Police Department annual report and/ or looking at our media releases before coming on a ride-along. PAPD has at any given time 3 to 5 Officers assigned to Patrol. Sometimes all the on duty Officers are in the station completing required reports and paperwork. Sometimes all the on duty officers are assigned to one major incident and no PAPD units are available for new calls. And, sometimes the tempo appears to be somewhat moderate and the workload manageable (only to change very quickly). All of this can be seen on a ride-along.
For community members who simply want to know more or for persons who are concerned about why Officers do or do not do certain things, we are looking forward to spending some time with you!