Producer Kyle took a ride along with the Indiana State Police
As soon as the officer arrived to pick me up, I was instructed to put on a bullet proof vest. The back seat was jam packed with a large duffel bag full of riot gear. We went over what weapons were located in the trunk.
It just got real.
Within 10 minutes, he had someone pulled over. The culprit blew by us in the left lane going close to 80 and tailing. Just a heads up, if you are in the mood to hit the gas pedal, don’t speed right by the police.
Half of a mile later, we stopped to check on a vehicle on the side of the interstate with lights on. The officer made sure she had help and someone coming to get her, due to it being cold outside.
Five minutes later, we pulled right back over, not to pull anyone over, but a call just came through. It wasn’t the type of call that any police officer, first responder or family wants to get... A state trooper in Jeffersonville, IN had just been shot in the head. Shortly after, we found out he was lucky and was only grazed in the head. The suspect was also shot and in custody. Thankfully the trooper was going to be okay and make a full recovery.
I didn’t ask the officer what he was thinking at the time but I can tell you I had chills throughout my whole body. Pretty intense.
Then we patrolled an area a couple times that is known for problems. We pulled up on a stalled vehicle with two individuals trying to push the truck into a driveway. There was also a working SUV right behind it blocking them. The officer stopped in the other lane and we blocked off the road with the lights turned on. If you are wondering why the officer wasn’t helping, there is a pretty solid reason. Some people hate the police. The officer stated that “you don’t want to get sandwiched in-between the two vehicles. You never know if these people hate the police and they could become defensive if we get out and help.” He made a great point. We waited in the car with the road blocked off until they got the car in the driveway. For what it’s worth, nobody pushing the vehicle or in the car behind them waved to thank the officer. I now understand his point.
Shortly thereafter, the trooper pulled someone else over for violating three traffic rules all within about a hundred yards. This person will end up somewhere he doesn’t want to be tonight. He was operating the vehicle while under the influence.
Once it was time to put the individual in the car, I moved to the backseat. There are no cages in ISP cars. They put the individual under arrest in the front seat as a safety precaution. The trooper told me, “you never know what could happen with them in the backseat without a cage. They could slip out of the cuffs, they could kick me in the back of the head. I could be knocked out and we could crash and hurt others. You can’t take that risk.”
For the record, the individual was very cooperative, did not resist and followed all rules from the trooper. One thing that really impressed me, the trooper even asked the person if he was being treated okay and fairly. The individual responded and “said yes I am.” We’ve all heard the bad stories and for someone doing a ride along, I appreciated the professionalism and courtesy to ask the person in handcuffs that question.
We took the individual to Eskenazi Hospital to have blood work done. He was taken out of handcuffs because he was not a threat. This individual was in sweats and a sweatshirt, comfortable clothes and all. In walks an officer with someone in handcuffs, clearly intoxicated and dressed to the nines, in a suit with some pretty smooth dress shoes. And my initial thought was, it doesn’t matter if you are dressed in plain clothes or in a suit, if you choose to drive under the influence or drink and drive, the police will get you sooner or later.
Once all the paperwork was done at the hospital (there is a massive amount) we headed out to the ISP post off of Post Road to turn in the evidence, blood work and where the trooper did more paperwork. Then we went to check out the dispatch center where the calls come in. It was complete with computers and large TV’s with live video coverage of different parts of our interstate systems in Indianapolis. We talked with a trooper who was on post-duty for the night as well as the staff who takes 911 calls. The main topic was the trooper that had been grazed in the head by the bullet. Everyone was thankful he was okay and that the suspect, who was also shot in return fire, was in custody. On the way home to drop me off, we talked about the obvious scary and risky parts of the profession.
Producer Kyle: What is on your mind every time you leave your house to start the job?
Trooper: Never leave the house angry. The last thing you want to say to your wife, family member or friend is something negative. Whenever you leave the house, always answer the phone any time that you can, even if you have to tell them that you’ll call them back.
Producer Kyle: Do you ever take anything personal?
Trooper: You do what you have to do for the job. You can’t take it personal. If you take things personally, you can’t do your job correctly.
Producer Kyle: What is the toughest part of the job?
Trooper: Sometimes you deal with some very nasty people. There are three types of people: Moral, immoral and amoral. Moral are people who follow the laws and rules, maybe occasional break a non-violent law. The immoral people are those that repeatedly break the law but have remorse and don’t fight the police. The amoral people are those who live a complete criminal lifestyle, having no regard for law enforcement or the safety of the people around them. These individuals are the ones that make the job extremely dangerous and unpredictable.
Producer Kyle: Why is it so helpful to have family in law enforcement?
Trooper: I’m blessed to have family who is in the field because they have so much advice to give through their experience. They help you be more prepared for the streets and help you not make the same mistakes that they did before.
Thanks to Sgt. John Perrine for setting me up with an ISP ride along. Think you have what it takes? They are recruiting. http://in.gov/isp/