Police Ride Along:
Earning a precious ounce of respect

If you can't ride along in a cop car,
go ride along on line.
Ask a Greensboro Cop

By Kitara Garner

When first assigned this assignment, I was very skeptical. Not only was I unhappy with it, I tried everything in my power to get out of riding along with a police officer. Besides, I had no respect for them.

They were disrespectful, annoying, and their jobs consisted of harassing citizens and being very rude.

When I arrived at the
police station, I still had a bad feeling in the back of my mind. When I walked into the watch operations center still skeptical, I had to wait ten minutes before an officer even came to the window to ask me for help.

Still a little upset, I told the officer my purpose and she gave me the necessary paperwork to fill out. When I gave her the finished product, she told me that I would have to wait for an officer who was available.

Over an hour passed by and I was bored. I was finally fed up and getting ready to leave. Next, a mixed race, tall and stocky man came through the door.

The first thing that ran through my mind was "I hope this is my officer. But wait he is a man. Oh well, let's get this over with."

Rookie Brian Coble was the officer with whom I was going to ride along.

When he introduced himself, I was relieved. He did not seem rude and he definitely was not disrespectful. I felt better. I was actually excited about going on this dreaded ride along.

Brian Coble, car number 3521, works district three around the
University of North Carolina at Greensboro area. His routine includes Market St., Holden Rd., Friendly Ave., New Garden Rd., and Battleground Ave.

While talking to him I found out that we had something in common: We both are from New Jersey. He stayed in Red Bank, NJ , went to
West Point University in New York. He went there for three years and left because "College was not for me" as he put it.

He then went to work for RJ Reynolds Marketing. After working in advertising for four years, he decided that he was not having "fun" and decided to do something about it.

While continuing our conversation, he told me that his father was a fire marshal/chief for 30 years. Although he admired and respected his father's spirit and ambition, he knew that being a fire official was something that he did not want to do. His father decided to set him up with his best friend's son who just happened to be a trained police officer. Officer Coble participated in a ride along with that specific officer and fell in love with the job.

So here he is now Brian Coble, two years on the police force and still going strong. He again informed me that he "absolutely loved his job." He also told me that when you work as a police officer, you work four days on, four days off. There is no set schedule of days. He is also normally scheduled to work the night shift, but since first shift lacked in number, he was called to fill in their positions.

Our first police incident occurred when Officer Coble spotted a truck with expired registration tags. When he took a closer look, he noticed the tags had been expired since November. When he pulled the truck over, he asked me if I wanted to get out with him and I, without hesitation, told him, "No thank you."

Officer Coble took the necessary precautions when pulling this jeep over. He got the young lady's license and registration. When he gets back into the car, he showed me just what police officers do when they pull you over. He showed me how to look up license numbers and names. He even showed me how to check to see if a person had any warrants for their arrest.

This jeep was not the woman's jeep so he decided to let her off with a warning. He also advised her not to drive that car anymore until everything is straightened out.

Our second police incident consisted of pulling over a green Chevrolet. Officer Coble actually noticed that that the driver was not wearing a Seattle -- something that is barely noticeable to the untrained eye. He checked her information and she was clean. He gave her a $25 ticket for not wearing a Seattle and sent her on her way.

While we are getting ready to leave the scene, we got another call about a forced entry.

Finally I thought to myself:


When we get to Stones throw apartment complex, we found an Hispanic woman and her child in distress. We saw glass on the floor. Apparently, someone tried to break into her apartment and broke the glass to the back door.

The two suspects had fled on foot when they noticed someone was in the apartment. The glass was broken with a baseball bat. One
K-9 dog was called in to try to detect some scent but nothing was found.

While we were there, we found out that there were three other robberies in the same time period, all which seem to be linked to the robbery we were investigating.

At the end of this whole ordeal, I realized that police officers are people too. I have gained more respect for them. Although I still have a little hatred for the general police force, I have managed to slide in an ounce of respect for Officer Brian Coble.

I am glad that I got this opportunity and I wish more people could experience what I have.

My day in general was boring, but I am glad to have had the chance to experience a day in the life of an officer.

NCAT Journalism Magazine


Copyright ©2002 Kitara Garner
All Rights Reserved
Citation Permitted Only With Credit