Yesterday I went on a ride along with the Long Beach Police Department
through the North Division
, beat 24. This beat is known for its drugs, gangs, and racial tension between Blacks and Mexicans. A beat is a certain section of a police division that a cop is assigned to patrol. The officer I was with was a tall 27 year-old guy named officer Mike George. He was born in Long Beach and grew up in the city for a little before heading to Orange County. After he demonstrated how to make a radio call on the baseball sized walkie talkie if he were to get shot, we finally hit the road close to 4 p.m.
Inside the patrol car, it smelled like new sofa with a dash of metal, probably from the loaded shotgun locked tightly behind my head. The ride started off with a Long Beach citizen finding someone's drivers license and wanting to return it to them. It belonged to a twenty-something-year-old black female. She lived in an apartment complex near Del Amo and Cherry. Once we arrived we walked to the back of the complex and I could feel the eyes of every tenant watching us. As officer Mike knocked on her screen door, she automatically thought she was in trouble. She was talking about some drama about a guy she was living with and how he was harassing her or whatever. After she gave her spiel, he told her to relax and that he was just returning her ID. While we were leaving, it seemed as if everything got really quiet, as if all the televisions were put on mute until we left the building.
After that, I asked George does he ever feel like everyone is watching him and know that he's present wherever he goes. His answer was, "You have to think this is an ocean, and you're a shark. Everyone knows we're here."
Being in the car was a very interesting feeling. I felt like I was an outsider wherever we went and it didn't help that I was following him around with a pen and notepad, jotting down notes of the day. It's a rather uncomfortable feeling. Most of the day we were running plates on cars, with the help of multiple cameras on top of the vehicle, to see if anyone has a stolen car or if something was out of the ordinary. At 4:45 p.m. we parked in the middle of the road on South Street just out of view of cars approaching a stop sign heading northbound. Apparently, many people don't pay attention to the stop sign. He was right, at 4:51 p.m., someone completely ignored the sign and sped off at about 55 mph. Without hesitation, we aggressively accelerated towards the car and briefly flashed the siren.
We were on the corner of South and Atlantic. In plain view of everyone. Kind of nerve wrecking, no big deal. A ticket was given to the guy and we went on our way.
We drove through a what I know to be a tough neighborhood and I was looking at the cop with my eyes without moving my head, because you know, I had to be strong, to see if he understood the type of area we were in. I lie to you not, there were about 5 dudes "mad doggin'" us. Don't know what that is? It's when someone gives you an intimidating stare. We even drove by some Lakewood Sheriffs who were talking about someone who spat on a female officer's shoes. Almost caught a stolen car, but the camera read the plate wrong. Close but no cigar.
I know this is only one ride and it doesn't completely give me a view of what cops go through, so I think I'll go on a few more in different areas. I wasn't able to photograph or video record anything because of their policy. That would have been awesome. I got back home around 7 p.m. and if I were stay on for the whole shift I would've been at the scene of a gun shot victim that happened last night in North Long Beach. Read about what happened on the LBPOST
Well that's it CityLifers. What do you think? Should I go on another one?