A Virtual Ride-Along: A Looking Glass For Transparency
Police ride-alongs have been around for a long time. Use google and you’ll get 6,560,000 results. This allows the passenger to get an up close, clear and personal view of the law enforcement officer’s day. In the course of a ride along, a passenger can see various aspects of enforcement operations. This could be responding to calls for service, running radar, or engaging with the community, young and old, through interacting with them at a public place such as a restaurant or a school playground.
Unfortunately, not everyone can take a ride along. The logistics of organizing ride-alongs and the dangers that civilians can be exposed to during a ride-along makes the practice still commonplace but highly selective. Law Enforcement Officer Mike Eeten was looking for an answer to this problem. A virtual ride-along seemed to be the answer.
Mike had heard of tweet-alongs. Where a law enforcement agency would tweet the activities of its law enforcement officers on a particular shift or shifts via Twitter. “So, I thought why not turn on Facebook live and show them what happens as we go. I also thought it would be a great platform for people to ask questions and have the officer answer them live on Facebook.” Mike said this when asked about his inspiration for the virtual ride-alongs. ” I want citizens to be able to see what we are doing, and also be able to see the officer as who they really are…a real person. They can get to know a little bit about the officer on a personal level.” Mike added.
Mike wanted to show the public a day in the life of a police officer through a live video stream. Community engagement is an important part of 21st century policework. Voters are more interested and engaged than ever before and they want to see their government at work and they want to see proof of their tax dollars being used to their greatest effect and efficiency. “I have heard from citizens who loved the virtual ride a longs. They said that it was like watching cops but in their hometown. They enjoyed meeting the Officers and having the chance to ask them questions and get answers right away.” Mike stated.
One of the planks in the platform of Eeten For Sheriff is Transparency. In an age where the image of the badge is tarnished and citizens are always wary of how their tax dollars are at work, Transparency is exceptionally important. Mike Eeten accomplished that through his implementation of the virtual ride along program while at Tazewell County’s largest police agency by manpower.
Elect Mike Eeten to the office of Tazewell County Sheriff and you’ll be pleased to see your tax dollars at work to better your public safety as a resident of this county. Regardless of the division of the Sheriff’s Office whether that be uniform patrol or investigations, you will know that the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is a good steward of the public’s trust and the tax dollars of the people of Tazewell County.
By Brandon C. Hovey