EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Evansville police are reviewing their ride-along policies after an officer’s son was accused of assaulting a man during a department sanctioned ride.
The officer’s son allegedly tried to break the cellphone of a man recording an arrest June 28 at a gas station, the Evansville Courier & Press reported (https://bit.ly/1D3D1L2 ).
The son was not charged at the scene because his father was the only officer who witnessed the alleged assault, Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin said.
Bolin has banned the son from participating in future rides, and his father will be counseled on how he might better handle such situations in the future.
Bolin wouldn’t say whether the department will make big changes to the program in which civilians ride with officers to get a sense of police work.
“I don’t want to be knee-jerk,” Bolin said. “Many family members decide to become police officers after a ride-along.”
Over the summer, ride-alongs are a regular occurrence, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Cullum said.
“This is a very popular program,” Cullum said. “We don’t want one bad apple to spoil it for everyone.”
People like Evansville resident Micas Harris, 27, of Evansville take rides to see firsthand what police officers do. He has several friends on the force and has considered becoming a police officer himself. After a ride-along last Wednesday, he said he’s almost certain he’ll pursue the career.
“The ride-along definitely pushed me over the edge,” Harris said. “This wouldn’t be a job, this would be something I would want to do every day.”
Like Harris, people who are considering becoming police officers participate in rides as part of their decision-making process, Cullum said. It also attracts individuals who just want to learn what law enforcement is about.
Besides reviewing its policy on family ride-alongs, Bolin said the department will also discuss whether it should create more stringent rules on when riders are allowed out of police cars.
The policies now “are very vague,” Cullum said. “A lot of it is the officer’s discretion.”
The June 28 incident was the first time Cullum or Bolin could recall a rider getting involved in a police run.
Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com
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