Ride-Along with Lancaster City Police Yields 4 Valuable Lessons for Citizens

As many of you may already know, a position was created in the District Attorney’s Office about a year and a half ago called “Community Outreach Coordinator." Sarah Fritz filled the role and was tasked with supporting and developing crime prevention programs for Lancaster County.

As part of that process, our Outreach Coordinator was honored to be able to take a ride along with Officer Skatz and Officer Parr from the Lancaster City Police Department on Monday evening. During the 4-hour ride along, officers were dispatched to a variety of incidents, including suspected drug activity, traffic violations and welfare checks.

Observations and information gathered during the night will help to inform ongoing projects but we wanted to share these four important lessons learned today:

1.Police officers want to have personal interactions with residents and business owners, but don’t always have the time due to hectic call volumes. If you know of an ongoing issue at a residence or business, or if you just want to get to know the officers that are working in your area, stop them to say hello and share your information at a time that works for both of you and have patience if they need to leave quickly to respond to a call. Interactions with police will vary based on an officer’s personal style and their workload for that day.

2. Police Officers often arrive with back up – even to a routine traffic stop! This might be surprising to some, but is for the safety of the resident as well as the officer. Don’t be surprised if you are pulled over and an additional police car arrives at the scene, this is simply to ensure that everyone goes home safely at the end of the stop.

3. Accurate and descriptive information from callers is vital to the work of law enforcement. For example, if you are calling to report a reckless driver you might be helping to save a life, but police will only be able to respond properly if they have details about the car as well as location and direction of travel. In every instance, try to be as descriptive as possible when calling 911 so that police can respond to the correct scene in a timely manner.

4. It is definitely more cost effective to keep up with what may ‘seem’ like minor responsibilities such as driver’s license renewal, vehicle registration, insurance renewal and vehicle inspection. If you are stopped and those things aren’t in order, fines can quickly add up and it could also result in points being added to your license. To avoid these consequences, set reminders for yourself to check and make sure everything is up to date.