The Merced Police Department encourages community involvement in the law enforcement process and allows interested citizens and students to ride as passenger observers with patrol officers.
All persons wishing to participate in the Ride Along Program must be at least 18 years of age, must not currently be under a driver license suspension or revocation from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and have no warrants outstanding for their arrest (except parking warrants). The signature of a parent or guardian allows Explorer Cadets/Leadership Participants under the age of 18 years to participate.
Program Rules & Guidelines
- Submitting a request does not guarantee ride along approval.
- Persons who have never participated in the Ride Along Program shall be given preference over those who have.
- Participants shall be limited to one ride along per year.
- The date and shift requested by the applicant shall be accommodated when possible within preference guidelines.
- Participants must have a valid photo ID or driver license with them when reporting for their scheduled ride along.
- Wear neat, clean, appropriate clothing. Shorts, sweat suits or jogging suits, tank tops, halter tops, or clothing which is torn, soiled or displays offensive language or symbols shall not be allowed.
- Participants shall be considered observers only, and shall be under the direct supervision of the assigned officer during the ride along.
- Participants shall conduct themselves in a civil and courteous manner at all times.
- Participants must wear their seat belts at all times while in the patrol car.
- Participants must remain in the patrol car unless instructed to leave by an officer.
- In the case of a potentially dangerous or hazardous call, participants may be dropped off at a safe location. If this occurs, the officer will give the participant specific instructions and arrange for transportation from another officer. Please note that this is for the rider's safety.
- Participants must not become involved in any incident the officer is handling. This includes discussions of an incident with victims, witnesses, or suspects.
- No tape recordings, cameras, or similar devices are allowed without prior approval from the Chief of Police or his designee.
- For security and safety reasons, participants are not allowed to handle or use any of the officer's equipment or the equipment in the patrol vehicle.
- All participants in the Ride Along Program must read, agree, and abide by all rules and guidelines and complete the Ride Along Application prior to the ride along.
- Failure to comply with any of the above listed rules and guidelines will result in the immediate termination of the ride-along.