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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Ride along prompts paradigm shift

My father drove me over to the North East Fresno Police substation at 6:15 A.M. It was going to be a long day. We signed a form permitting me to ride along with a cop, and my nerves were tense as I anticipated a crazy turn of events- which could include high speed chases and getting shot at, May 4.

A plan was originally offered to me: a ride along with Brian Burry, my father’s friend, would be a chance to get to know the man my father respects as a policeman and a karate black belt, and experience things from the cop’s point of view. Due to a conflict in schedules, I was not able to ride along with Burry, but he arranged a meeting for me with a friend of his, Lori Law.

During the 20 minute briefing nothing eventful took place. I received a paper with the night?s news as I planned on a rewarding day. My expectations were exceeded due to exciting community drama such as domestic disputes and gang fights. This experience definitely taught me to be thankful for the generally peaceful environment I live in.

Burry’s friend Law, a 10-year Fresno policewoman, introduced herself. The atmosphere was similar to what I expected. The officers seemed ready for a violent event to happen at any moment, yet fairly relaxed, considering the danger that may present itself at any moment during duty.

Law and I headed to the patrol car where I was denied the privilege to drive, which caused me only mild disappointment. We drove to Law?s beat, or the main area of town where she patrols.

Since no situations needed attention, we drove to McDonald’s for some breakfast burritos, hash browns and coffee. An elderly man came up and thanked Law for her service to the community. This caused both Law and me discomfort at the irregular treatment; The modest Law wanted to be recognized as someone who protects the community, yet a public thanking was not what she was looking for.

?It makes me not want to go into places like that, because I feel an obligation to communicate with people who I wouldn?t otherwise give the time of day to,? Law said. ?And if I wasn?t in a uniform, he wouldn?t be talking to me.?

Over the car radio, we learned of a situation: a potential gang fight with citizens carrying guns. With the blare of a siren and flash of lights, we sped to the incident as my heart rate increased. When I looked out the window of the car, I saw the inhabitants of a house file out, while I, feeling anxious, waited for Law to return.

Despite searching for nearly half an hour, the suspects were not found. The firearms had been abandoned in the backyard and were retrieved as peace returned to the neighborhood. I was flooded with reassurance as Law returned to the car where I waited, chilly and shaken up.

Yet later, Law relaxed me when she dictated a note which I sent to her co-worker via the instant messenger-type system installed on the patrol car?s computer. The lighthearted atmosphere created a comfortable, easygoing feeling for me as a passenger.

Law took down a vandalism report and dusted a car for fingerprints. I realized how many skills are necessary to be even a mediocre cop, let alone a great one like Law. I saw how officers must keep their cool and know how to deal with different kinds of situations; I gained newfound respect for the police force through my experience.

Around 1:30 P.M. we headed back to the police station where Law spoke to me for a few minutes about her profession as I intently listened to a strong woman.

?Balancing the rest of your life is difficult,? Law said. ?It is not so bad for me because I work the day shift and don?t have a family. Our job as cops is to basically interject ourselves into the community drama and keep people from harm.?

Being a woman in a field dominated by males may seem like a challenge to me, but Law manages her duties by compensating for physical difference by relying on mental prowess.

?I am bodily not as capable, so I have to use my brain a lot more,? Law said. ?It is an excellent job for a woman. I am the same age as many people who I deal with, so they know I have life experience. Your attitude changes with what you experience throughout life.?

Rather than riding around trying to get people into trouble, cops look for danger and selflessly interject themselves into it in order to protect others. I fully appreciate the peace in my own life, as I have never been involved in a domestic dispute, gang fight or other violent act.

Overall, I grew to respect cops more and Law in particular, who enjoys going to movies and out to dinner. Despite carrying a gun and wearing a uniform, she is a real person.

While many view police as the ?bad guys,? I found comfort in seeing police as the good guys who are there to protect citizens.

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    Andrew EvansApr 10, 2010 at 6:56 am

    That’s “Papa E” Tyler Enns, last year’s asst. coach.