Today I was able to do something that I had been looking forward to for a long time and that was to join one of our incredible law enforcement officers and do a ride along. After filling out some paperwork and passing a background check I was able to schedule a time to ride along with Patrol Sergeant Don Peck with the Nampa Police Department. I quickly found out that beyond being a great Sergeant Don is a big family man and loves to help others so his career choice suits him well.

After a quick tour of his office he showed me lots of the big equipment that is readily available just in case anything were to happen such as SWAT vehicles, Negotiation Headquarters, and even the Bomb Squad equipment. After I was shown just how secure we are as citizens we jumped into his Patrol vehicle which is a nice Tahoe and started his normal patrol.

Before we could even leave the NPD headquarters I was asking Sergeant Peck all types of crazy questions and he was fantastic in answering everything It’s impressive how much information our officers have to just know off the top of their head, especially when it comes to specific jurisdictions.

We began patrolling a school zone in Nampa for around 10 minutes and didn’t issue any situations or pull anyone over which is always a good thing in a school zone. Sergeant Peck then showed me how large of an area the NPD patrol and that’s when I asked him about staffing. He said the Nampa Police could easily use another 40+ officers but unfortunately it’s just not in the budget. Adding 6 last year was a tremendous addition, but just hearing about these needs makes me want to vote for the Police initiatives in the future.

We got back on more busy roads and Sergeant Peck tells me that we are going to stop our first vehicle of the day, he could tell by the license plate tag that the vehicle has expired registration. After double checking in his computer it was confirmed the tag was expired. My heart started beating fast and I asked him if he still gets that rush when pulling people over he said yes. What was hilarious is that the driver made another infraction in front of us probably nervous that a police vehicle was behind them. In the end the driver was issued a warning and told to fix the registration immediately. I then asked Sergeant Peck the best way to get out of a ticket. He said every officer is different but with him, admit the mistake and tell him that is won’t happen again. In most cases he knows before the lights go on if you’re getting a ticket, but if you’re kind and can accept responsibly it goes a long way.

After we finished the traffic stop we drove around a bit more before a more serious call came over the radio about a very suspicious found outside of the Nampa Police Department. A suitcase was situated near the building, which obviously can be alarming. This began the 30-45 minute process of getting the Bomb Squad ready and eliminating any threat caused by the suitcase. There were multiple roads blocked off for safety reasons, and the Bomb Robot was deployed. In the end there was no bomb and Sergeant Peck suspects it was a transient’s suitcase that stopped by the precinct to grab a snack provided each month by a local business that is called the “Blessings Box”.

After the Bomb incident was all clear Sergeant Peck went back to dealing with a smaller issue popping up like a minor theft and trespassing. It was mostly handled by store security because they can do almost just as much as police officers for petty theft, once it reaches a certain dollar amount then the Police step in and make arrests. He also began setting up things for something in the afternoon that he was going to have to deal with involving a citizen that is often in trouble. We did more patrol around neighborhoods before returning to the Police department.

Upon returning to the station I got another tour of the full facility including the brains of the operations which is dispatch. I was highly impressed with the staff up there and the quick yet calm demeanor they all showed. I was able to call 911 from my cell phone and see how close they could trace my phone to my exact location, it was fascinating to see everything.

Overall I would highly suggest reaching out and doing a ride along for yourself if it is something that interests you, because I had so much fun. I feel safer in the city that I live and I learned so much about the area. You will love to know that even if their dispatch area went down, all calls are automatically transferred so you will never have a problem reaching 911.

A few things I learned while on the ride away include that all phones active or not still dial 911 and connect with emergency services (think about this before giving your old phone to your kids to play with). Also if you’re in an emergency please try to know your location, relay what’s happening, and keep the phone line open. If you’re in a situation where you cannot speak, still keep the phone line open. And lastly in the city of Nampa you can drop off yard waste and old Christmas trees at the cemetery for free, which will be turned into compost for parks around the city.

I cannot say thank you enough to Sergeant Peck and the rest of the Nampa Police Department for checking this off my bucket list as well as teaching me so much about how things work. While I will probably never be an officer they let me feel like part of the team for a few hours which was an experience I will cherish for a long time. Thanks Nampa Police Department!