Stephen Colbert said “it’s official: policemen are not susceptible to the Jedi mind trick. ” I will be sharing my expectations, observations, and experiences that I had during my ride along with Andover Police Department and my current endeavors to become a law enforcement officer. My thoughts and expectations are probably different than someone who was Just doing the police ride along to complete the required project. I really like the metaphor killing two birds with one stone because that was exactly what I was able to do.
I had started the hiring process for Andover Police Department and they had alled wanting me to complete a couple of ride alongs to make sure that I wanted to work in Andover. I choose to complete my ride along in two 3 hour increments. I completed a ride along from 6pm to 9pm on the first day and 2pm to 5pm on the second day. When I arrived I checked in at the dispatcher’s station and the lady that was working the front desk told me it would be a couple of minutes before an officer would be with me. I spent at least 15 minutes reading brochures and being bored, but the excitement and anticipation was growing inside me.
Finally a lieutenant met ith me and introduced me Jason Arnold, the officer that I would be completing my first ride along with. I could immediately tell Jason had a goofy domineer to him. Jason already knew that I was a candidate for the Job, and it seemed as if a conversation was really hard to get started with him. It felt like he was trying to Judge my personality and see if he was going to like me or not. Jason went over the mechanics of the car explaining what buttons did what and how to unlock the gun in case something bad went down. I thought it strange because I was in a small town.
What could possibly go that terribly wrong? I asked him and he explained that there are usually only two officers on duty on 2nd shift and sometimes they were sent into the country to assist sheriff deputies. Jason explained that’s when things can go really wrong because you’re so far out in the country by yourself with nobody around to help you. I shook my head in agreement but in my mind I was thinking this guy is trying to make excitement out of nothing. Jason spent the majority of the first hour showing me the perimeter of his Jurisdiction.
I admit that I thought it would be simple because it was such a small town, but found out there were a lot of holes in heir coverage. The city and the county shared Jurisdiction and Andover Police Department had a lot of areas that were theirs and some in the city limits that weren’t. As the time went on Jason loosened up and his personality started to come through. Jason immediately started given me tips on where to sit to run radar and where the best places to park and take breaks were. Jason said he was a tag pirate because he loved to catch people with expired tags.
There are only two beats in Andover: north and south beat. Central was the north south divider and then it Just epended on the streets west and east and also north and south. Jason spent the majority of the time I was with him driving around in circles and looking for places to take smoke breaks. Jason did run a lot of tags and ran radar on a lot of people. I was getting bored at this point so I started asking Jason questions. I asked him what was his most exciting moment ever while working at Andover Police Department: Jason described a time ne was called in to assist on a high speed chase that another office was engaged in.
Jason said he was doing about 120 mph and his car kept cutting out ecause the governor on it was kicking in. Jason said the adrenaline rush was so overwhelming that after he had to get out of his car and take some deep breaths because he was breathing so hard. Overall, my experience with my ride along with Jason was pretty boring. The next day I showed up for my second scheduled ride along on first shift from 2pm to 5pm with Troy Snedeker. He was a younger police officer and had been with Andover Police Department since July 2008.
Troy was a lot more sociable than Jason and showed interest in me by asking me about if I had heard anything about being ffered a Job yet. I told him not yet but I was very hopeful. Troy changed the subject and asked me if I had taken a tour of the facility. I was curious so I agreed to the tour. Believe me it was a quick one because Andover’s Police building isn’t very big. The surprising thing about Andover PD is that everyone is so friendly and helpful. It’s like working for a mom and dad store. I really liked that because it felt like a family environment and not Just another Job.
Troy and I completed the tour and he told me that it was time to go patrol because it was getting close to time for school to get out. We had the north beat this time and Troy explained that during school let out time a police officer is required to patrol school zones looking for speeders. Troy showed me how to tune the radar with a tuning fork to make sure that it was accurate. Troy spent a lot of time pulling people over for minor violations such as brake lights out or speeding. He let the lady that was speeding off with a warning because she was honest with him and he said he was going to give her a break.
After he let the lady go the lieutenant on duty asked him if he gave her a ticket and he told him no. The lieutenant told him that was the lady that was being watched for possibly being involved in a string of burglaries. Troy was bummed because he decided that would have been a great ticket to give because of what she had been doing. Troy was sitting doing radar when he was called back to the station to talk with the chief of police. He immediately changed and looked very worried. Troy couldn’t fgure out what exactly he could have done but explained it never usually a good thing to be called back into the chiefs office.
I told him to stay positive maybe it was something minor. When we arrived back at that station Troy left me with the dispatcher lady while he went and talked with the Chief. Troy returned shortly and said they didn’t want him they wanted to talk with me. Troy made the comment fired before he was even hired. My stomach sank and I was sure he was going to reject me. I walked into the office and there was the captain, a lieutenant, the chief of police, and the chiefs assistant. It was a very awkward feeling being in that room with all eyes looking at me. I asked the chief how could I help him.
The chief told me that the captain had omething to tell me and I turned around and the captain said that they had decided to go ahead with a move on. I was confused thinking go on without me or go on with me included. The captain smiled and said we are moving you along to the next phase in the hiring process. I must have turned 3 shades of red because the lieutenant said look at him he already thinks he has the Job. I said I sure hope so because this is my dream. The captain instructed Troy to get my finger prints and I was instructed that I would be receiving a phone call shortly to set up my polygraph.
It was about a day later when I received a phone call trom Detective Marr witn Wichita Police Department. A time was set up for me to complete the polygraph and that Thursday morning at 9:00am after working 13 hours I showed up at the Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training Center. Detective Marr had me complete 1 50 questions prior to my polygraph. When I had completed it I was brought back into a room that reminded me of going back in time to the 60’s except for the computer in the room. Detective Marr started off with some basic questions like when is the last time you ate and how many hours have you slept?
I explained to her that I hadn’t went to sleep or 16 hours and she advised me that I would have to come back another time because not having enough sleep could affect the outcome of the test. I was really worried at this point that Andover Police Department would not want me. Detective Marr assured me that she would let them know that it was her decision to move it. The polygraph was rescheduled to take place in two days. I spent the next two days wondering and worrying about the questions that I was going to be asked. I actually spent two days overthinking the situation.
I thought what have I ever done in the past that could get me disqualified. The day of the polygraph Detective Marr invited me back into the room from the 1960’s. Detective Marr spent about 10 minutes hooking me up to the polygraph machine. Detective Marr went over the entire 150 questionnaire that I had completed 3 days before. She made me think hard about the questions and my answers. She completely dissected my life and I have to admit that I felt like a bad person after going over all the answers to my questions. The actual test only had 6 questions that she asked me but they were asked over and over again.
The test was given to me a total of 5 separate times asking the same uestions. At the end of it Detective Marr tried to say there was some deviation in the major crimes question and asked me if I wanted to add anything. I explained to her that I had nothing else to add and she said I believe you and removed all the equipment off of me. Detective Marr thanked me for my time and told me that Andover Police Department should be getting ahold of me. I worried about my answers all the way home because I felt like I was too honest because I defiantly didn’t feel like a good person.
I had Just made it home when I received a phone call from a lieutenant from Andover Police Department. I could tell by the tone of his voice that it wasn’t going to be good news. He started off by saying I am calling you about the Andover Police Job and unfortunately I don’t have good news. He explained that in my pre-employment packet that I filled out prior to being interviewed that I had lied that I had never used drugs recreationally. I told him that if I had it was unintentional and that I never tried to hide anything from my past and that I had smoked marijuana when I was 15 or 16 years old less than 5 times.
I explained that I never intended to lie on my packet and that’s why I admitted it to the detective before he even hooked me up to the polygraph machine. He explained that it was policy and that the chief was upset about the situation because I had such a big heart for the Job. I wanted to go crawl into a hole but what good would that do me? I decided that day that I would Just be more determined to be a cop by finishing my degree, working out more, and losing more weight. I wasn’t going to let a set back like this beat me. I attempted to call the chief of Andover Police Department and talk with him to at least thank him for his time.
I never received a call back, but I did receive a letter n the mail that said I would not be eligible to reapply tor Andover Police Department again. I spoke with my friend who is a Wichita Police officer and he told me that they were hiring and that they needed police officers bad. He told me that he would be willing to train me and get me in top notch shape. I explained to him that I would have trouble Jumping the 5 foot wall. I have since taken the Wichita Police written test and have passed it. I have been given the opportunity to have my first contact interview but I am stalling until I am able to complete the physical agility test.
I have rinted off the pre interview packet that is about 51 pages long but I admit I am going to double and triple check it for errors. I have a YMCA membership that I have been utilizing in the last 3 weeks. My friend came by about a month ago and told me that I needed to come with him because he was going to go and run the agility course. When we arrived at the Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Center I was introduced to Detective Griffin which is the detective I will have my first contact interview with. She went over with me what to work on and to be prepared to be able to run the agility course and the cooper mile.
The cooper mile is defiantly a big goal for me because it’s a mile and a half in 14 minutes. To skinny people it isn’t that bad, but when you’re a bigger guy like me it’s a struggle. I did go and complete the agility test but found that I was unable to complete the 5 foot wall, I was close to going over it but not quite there yet. I have since been working out at least 4 to 5 times a week at the YMCA. I have also run the cooper mile and I am currently running it between 17 and 18 minutes. I am dedicated to succeeding at becoming a law enforcement individual and don’t plan of giving up.