Scramer, you are wrong; ride-alongs are encouraged.
Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate the high volume of requests that we were typically receiving and the program had to be suspended in 2009. At this time, considerations are made for requests that are submitted by officers, and usually those requests are for their family members or friends. It has long been recognized that the support of family members and friends is crucial for law enforcement officers in developing strategies to handle stress, and this is one way that the department is able to encourage that support system.
You are correct, Scramer, in that there are many benefits to the ride-along experience. During follow-up conversations, participants have similar reports - having a greater appreciation for law enforcement and the role of the law enforcement officer in the community, and having a greater understanding of the 'how' and the 'why' with regards to law enforcement officers and the way they perform their duties. The most common response has been that it was an 'eye-opening' experience. I hope that the program can resume again in the future.
We work hard at building community relationships with our youth and there are ways to do that other than via a ride-along.
Thank you for the post.