Ride-Along Program

The Arroyo Grande Police Department strives to foster positive relationships with the community it serves. As part of this initiative, the department permits citizens to ride with officers in police department vehicles, thereby increasing officer awareness of community concerns while also educating citizens as to police functions.

Program Information
The Arroyo Grande Police Department's Ride-Along Program offers members of the community an opportunity to observe police work first hand by accompanying an officer as an observer during a regular patrol shift. The program affords the observer an opportunity to tour the Arroyo Grande Police facility and spend approximately four hours riding with an officer while he/she patrols the city. This experience leads to a better understanding of law enforcement in general and graphically demonstrates what it is like to work as a police officer in Arroyo Grande. The program also fosters better police / community relations by removing the barriers that sometimes exist between police officers and members of the community. The ride-along allows police officers and community members to exchange questions and ideas on an individual and more personal basis. The time they share in the patrol car can be a learning experience for both.

Things to Know Before Applying
Before applying to take part in the Ride-Along Program there are some things you need to know. First, you must understand that police work is inherently dangerous and although we take every reasonable precaution to minimize the danger, there remains some risk to your personal safety. Prior to participating in the Ride-Along Program you must sign a Waiver releasing the City of Arroyo Grande, the Arroyo Grande Police Department, and employees of the Police Department from any liability should you be injured during the ride-along.

Background Checks
Applicants for the Ride-Along Program must also undergo a criminal history check. On occasion, persons with substantial criminal backgrounds have attempted to participate in the program. For obvious reasons,this is unacceptable. A criminal record is not automatically disqualifying. The ride-along coordinator will review each case individually.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the ride-along coordinator.

Age & Frequency Restrictions
Citizens ages 16 or older are permitted to ride for a maximum of four hours, once a year, during the hours of 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Observer Ride-Along Form
All Ride-Along applicants shall complete and sign the Ride-Along Application Form. Ride-alongs will not be scheduled until the application form is submitted and the criminal record check completed. Applicants under the age of 18 years require written parental permission. The minimum age to participate in the Ride-Along Program is 16 years.

Approval Process
Completed forms undergo a review process, including a criminal history check of the applicant. A member of the Police Department will contact you to confirm your ride-along date and time. The Arroyo Grande Police Department reserves the right to refuse this opportunity to any individual. 

Ride-Along Day
Ride-alongs are expected to arrive at the Police Department at the scheduled time and will be returned to the station at the conclusion of the shift. Exceptions will be made if the ride-along desires to be returned to the station prior to the end of the shift. If you wish to start your ride-along at sometime other than at the beginning of the shift, or are unable to arrive at your scheduled time, you must notify the watch commander at 805-473-5100 as soon as possible.

Things to Remember
  • Dress business casual and exercise proper personal hygiene.
  • If riding over your normal meal time, please bring your lunch or dinner. The officer may not receive a food break, or be able to take you to buy something.
  • Arrive five minutes prior to your scheduled ride time. Inform the dispatcher on duty that you are reporting for a ride-along. You must present a driver’s license or photo identification.
  • On your ride-along, follow officer’s directions immediately and concisely, and conduct yourself in a professional manner.
  • If you need to cancel your ride-along, please call 805-473-5100.
Rules & Regulations
  • All Ride-Alongs are required to wear conservative business attire.
  • Tape recorders and cameras will not be permitted unless prior approval has been obtained from the watch commander and assigned officer.
  • It is desirable to ask questions regarding procedures and activities, however, it must be done at an appropriate time. Ride-alongs shall not interfere with the officer's activities at any time.
  • Ride-alongs shall not participate in any police activity unless specifically directed by officers.
  • Ride-alongs shall not converse with prisoners, suspects, witnesses, or other parties contacted on police business.
  • Ride-alongs shall not leave the radio car at any time without first obtaining the officer's permission.
  • Remember - As a ride-along, you are required to obey the instructions of the officer at all times. Your safety, the safety of the officer, and public safety in general depends on your cooperation.