You may have read about Jason Hibbets’ ride along with Raleigh Police Department (RPD) and the 5 Crime Fighting Tips he provided. I had a similar, but totally different experience that I’d like to share.
I rode with Office Camacho. Officer Camacho has been with the RPD for five years. He mentioned several time how much he likes his job. It was quite evident during the night. I also was amazed by the multi-tasking that these officers do. I could not keep up with all the chatter coming in over the different channels.
Officer Camacho’s beat encompasses the eastern most portion of the Southwest District. We started the night by responding to a possible drug dealing call at Walnut Terrace. No drugs were found, but we did pour out a couple of beers. You may wonder why I say “we.” On every call we made, I was allowed to get out of the car and follow Officer Camacho. There were times that my heart was beating a little fast.
We too were called to the shots fired on the CAT bus on Lake Wheeler Road. After determining there were no shots involved, we were on to our next call, checking out a car parked in front of a fire hydrant blocking the road downtown – never did find it.
I won’t try to go through every call that we went on (there were about 15-20) but in addition to the calls above, we went on several domestic calls, one head-on collision, 4 or 5 loud party/noise calls, one EMS check, one stranded/vandalized car, and finally, we rode the beat just looking for things out of the ordinary.
During one of the domestic calls, there ended up being an arrest, and I got to see the Wake County Jail and learn how a person is processed when they are arrested. The officer types in their case and then talks to the Magistrate on duty via closed circuit TV. Once the official documents come down the tube from the Magistrate, the person is processed through fingerprinting, picture, and then searched. Once searched, the suspect is considered detained, and the officer can leave.
We were the first unit on site to a multiple car accident at the corner of Avent Ferry Road and Trailwood Drive. A lady was turning right on red and failed to noticed a car coming. Despite ending in a head-on collision, no one was hurt badly. We had to stay at the scene until all three of the cars were hauled off. As Officer Camacho wrote his report, we had to take off to another call. He asked me to help him remember which tow truck took which car. My first assignment!
Jason mentioned how some of the descriptions that are given can be sketchy, and detail is the key to solving crimes. We went on one call to a stranded/vandalized car. When we pulled up to the scene, the gentleman told us that while sitting in his car waiting for a tow truck, three young white men hit his windshield with a stick, breaking the rear view mirror off the glass. Officer Camacho asked the man again for a description and then turned my attention toward the screen. The call had come in as two black males vandalizing the car. Fortunately for us, the man was able to correct the identity and also able to tell us exactly where the suspects went.
We were able to find the three men at a nearby convenience store. They came out of the store one at a time, and each one denied having anything to do with breaking a windshield. After several minutes of talking to each of the men, one finally told the truth, and one by one, they all did. The suspect was taken back to the scene, and he, and the victim were able to work out a solution.
I couldn’t quite make it the entire 12-hour shift, and ended my tour of duty at 4:30 in the morning.
I was still wired when I got home, and I’m sure my husband enjoyed my monologue that early in the morning. I kept thinking about everything I had done and saw. This brings me to one of the main observations that I made.
Many of the people that these officers deal with are disrespectful. While standing in the jail waiting for our person to be processed, another detainee asked Office Camacho to “please tie my shoe so I can kick you in the head.” I was speechless. Was this guy stupid? There were cops everywhere! Unfortunately, this man wasn’t the only one that night that was disrespectful. Person after person lied, cussed, yelled, and ignored Officer Camacho. Many of the persons appeared to be under the influence of alcohol (some even admitted it), however, I don’t find that as an excuse. It was disappointing.
Officer Camacho also asked me to share many of the things that Jason talks about in his post. He stressed being a good witness. Take notes, be descriptive, get as much info as you can. He also noted that a person walking on the sidewalk talking on a cell phone, does not warrant a “suspicious person.” However, a person stopping, going on your or your neighbors property, or someone snooping around cars parked on the street is, and you should call 9-1-1.
I agree with Jason that this was one of the most eye opening experiences that I have ever had. We need to share our experiences, and use this new found knowledge to inform and educate our neighbors. We are the first line of defense in keeping our neighborhoods safe.