INDIANAPOLIS — Stymied by the COVID pandemic and stung by community criticism, IMPD is rebooting its community ride-along program after a two-year hiatus.

“If you’re a community member, a student, or if you’re interested in becoming a police applicant, this is a great opportunity for all walks of life to get a first-hand experience on what it’s like to be a police officer on a shift,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Josh Barker. “It’s an eight-and-a-half hour shift in a police car with a police officer observing interactions with citizens, interactions with co-workers, decision-making process, and really the vast spectrum of incidents that we investigate on any given day.”

Applicants must be at least 18-years-old, possess a valid state ID and pass a limited criminal background check.

“What better opportunity for someone curious about or even critical about law enforcement will have than to spend a shift engaging one-on-one with a police officer who does that job every day,” said Barker.

One faith leader said he’s been on dozens of ride-alongs with IMPD and learns something new every time.

“Number one, what I think you learn is that what you thought you knew about what they do is not what you learn about what they do,” said Dr. Chris Holland of The Father’s House. “It’s an amazing moment when you get to step inside a police officer’s world, you get to truly see what they deal with every day.

“I think ride-alongs really encourage community members who have armchair quarterbacked the police department not ever really knowing what they do or what they deal with,” he said. “It’s a great eye-opener.”

Dr. Clyde Posley recently completed 24 hours of ride-alongs as part of his assignment to the newly formed IMPD General Orders Board.

“Police have a lot to consider and keep in mind and short time intervals in which to make decisions,” he said. “As a civilian, I had never really given much thought as to everything that goes into each decision and there are really no small decisions that they make.”

Dr. Posley said riding in the front seat of an IMPD patrol car not only gave him a window into the world of policing but also as to how the community responds to officers.

“When the police pull up there is a great reliance on them to bring order and there’s more trust than one would appear,” said Dr. Posley. “People trust the police to be the peacemaker and the problem solver when they go to an event.”

If you are interested in participating in IMPD’S Ride-Along program, click here.