I went on a citizen ride along with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department a week ago. I had been reading, lurking mostly, here in the cop talk section, off and on for a while. SOME of what I read, combined with recent CMPD news, and my own experience (from long ago, admittedly), had my opinion of law enforcement in a steady decline. I didn't want to reach a point where I distrusted or disliked police in general. So I spent the day with an officer in the hopes that I'd come home from my ride and be rid of the infection I feared could set in and become terminal. I'm proud to announce that I'm fully healed. I understand that CMPD would not send a citizen to ride along with a jerk, but even taking that into consideration, my expectations were surpassed and I was surprised at how candidly the officer spoke to me about many issues. I was also surprised, and a little relieved, when I delicately approached the subject of my occasional skepticism towards police, and the officer told me that before he was one, he disliked cops, and certainly didn't trust them. Although I had prepared myself to observe silently all day if that's what was asked of me, I did have a spiral notebook with a solid page and a half full of questions. Some of my questions answered themselves via casual conversations, and some were just read verbatim from my book. All were answered directly and honestly. Some of the answers generated more questions, which were also answered. Some of the calls we went to generated their own questions, also answered in the same manner. Here are some things I learned that day... *People will call the police, via 911, for reasons I would have never imagined. And you guys actually have to respond! "My roommate won't turn down his TV" and "My husband says my smoking is dangerous to our children" are two that I witnessed that day. How do you not club these people? *In my area at least, we have the DA to thank for our crime problems, not the police department. I heard several examples of cases that seemed to be slam dunks, yet the DA refused to prosecute for various reasons. Our courts are fully booked, apparently, and "minor" crimes, like "only" breaking someones arms, are insignificant I guess and do not warrant clogging up the courts. This makes me want to club somebody. *Related to the above, "officer discretion" often has less to do with actual officer discretion, and more to do with "why should I spend a large chunk of my day arresting and processing this guy in possession of a tiny bit of weed and a pipe, when the DA will throw it out anyway?" *Convenience store owners actually have the juevos to utter the phrase "I gave you free coffee for two years. Why haven't you caught my robber yet?" (Officer said he tried to pay every time, they wouldn't take his money) How do you not club these people? *I would have never guessed it, but LEO discounts at restaurants and other places are actually a nuisance and a source of embarrassment and irritation to many police officers. My host for the day said he eats lunch at home to avoid the nonsense. (Yes, I did buy his lunch. With his permission.) I could go on, but the longer this gets, the less likely anyone will read it Suffice it to say that I now view the job as being impossible to do without pissing off one group or another. You guys really have the deck stacked against you. Many thanks for putting up with all the layers of BS in order to do what needs to be done. PS: The post from 05wrxfl titled "This just says it all" could not have come at a better time to underscore some of the many reasons why I'll now tend to forgive any "attitude" I might perceive from police that may have previously worsened my opinion of them as a group.