By Michelle James
A police ride along with a Sandy police officer for more than three hours resulted in no calls in the area and instead involved proactive policing.
Officer Patrick Radke works with the Sandy Police Department and covers the East section of Sandy. He works a night shift that is 10 hours long.
The night started without any calls, and Radke decided to do some patrolling, which was watching traffic lights. Radke said citizens can report someone running a red light by calling the police and then acting as a witness. While waiting at a traffic light near the Sandy Police Station, a person ran a red light and Radke pursued the vehicle. Before even getting out of the vehicle, he decided that he probably wouldn’t give a ticket and he understood that the person was probably just running late. He tries to make this decision beforehand so that he isn’t influenced by the person. The man in the vehicle got away with just a warning.
Although this warning didn’t result in anything dangerous, Radke explained how going back to the car after they’re pulled over, and after he’s checked their license information, is when it can get dangerous. That’s the time when people get angry and possibly violent.
Calls that other officers got throughout the night were mainly domestic-related. This could be between any people that live or have lived together. It could be something serious, or it could be a neighbor reporting something they think happened.
Radke said about half the calls they get are smaller things, but they still have to go see what it is. Usually, the officer closest will take the call, and if they need help, then officers from different areas will go.
Kurt Brower, an officer in Boca Raton, Florida, said, “We get everything,” in terms of calls and how it depends on whether it is during the day or night. Brower explained how during the day, the population is higher so more calls will come in.
Radke said there is the issue with how people get angry when they get pulled over, but when they see something dangerous, they want the police to be there.
“Everybody wants the law enforced, but they don’t want it enforced on them,” Radke said.
A major part of a police officer’s shift is taken up with filling out paperwork. Officers have computers in their car where they fill out all the information after they give someone a warning or ticket. This information is crucial when a case is taken to court, and an attorney will question everything that the officer wrote. Radke said some attorneys even take classes at the police academy to get a better understanding of the system.
Since no calls in his area came in, Radke did “proactive policing,” which includes patrolling his area and being aware of traffic violations, as well as actions like looking for stolen cars. Radke often found stolen cars at a hotel near the station, looking for cars that have backed in trying to hide their license plate. According to city-data.com, there were 193 auto thefts per 100,000 people in Sandy in 2013. He said how “boring nights” give officers the chance to do this kind of policing, compared to busy nights where they are trying to catch up with all the calls.
At the end of the ride along with Officer Radke, there had been no calls in his quadrant, but he instead he had the time to watch out for speeding and traffic light violations.