Ride-along program

The Civilian Ride-Along program provides members of the community with the opportunity to see firsthand how their police department handles calls for service. In order to manage the number of ride-along requests and to provide for the safety of the participants, the following rules have been established:

Questions and answers

  • Who can ride-along?
    • Members of the Santa Ana Explorer Program and authorized members of the community who are at least 18 years of age. Any exceptions must be approved by the Chief of Police.
  • How do I obtain authorization?
    • All patrol ride-alongs must be approved by the Chief of Police or the Watch Commander. Ride-along with officer/employees assigned to units outside the Police Department’s Patrol Division, shall be considered on a case-by-case basis, and require approval from the affected Division Commander, or the Chief of Police.
    • To apply, you must contact the Station Supervisor at (714) 245-8701 at least two weeks prior to the date you want to ride. You will be asked to complete a ride-along application/waiver and will undergo a background check. Upon approval, you will be contacted to schedule your ride-along.
  • Do I have to sign something?
    • Yes. You are required to sign an Accident Waiver that frees our insurance carrier and the Department from liability in the unlikely event that you are injured while on a ride-along. If you are under 18, your parents must also sign the waiver.
  • Does that mean I could get hurt?
    • Police work by its very nature is dangerous. The officer you ride with will take all reasonable precautions to mini-mize your exposure to dangerous events or conditions.
  • When can I ride-along?
    • Ride-alongs are permitted during the days (Watch I) and afternoon (Watch II) shifts and generally last 8 hours in duration.
  • What should I wear?
    • You may dress semi-casual but your clothes should be clean and neat. Remember to dress for the weather, officers typically drive with their windows rolled down (to hear better) regardless of the temperature.
  • Can I bring a camera?
    • Due to constitutional rights of privacy, cameras and tape recorders are not allowed to be carried on ride-alongs.
  • Are there things I should not do?
    • Yes. Do not interfere with officers while they are performing their duties. Afterwards, the officer may answer your questions about how the incident was handled.
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