When you think of a ride along with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department you may think of an episode of “Cops” filled with exciting calls every minute, sirens blaring and arresting drunk criminals.
The morning of March 8 I arrived at the department feeling extremely nervous. My legs were shaking and my hands were sweating profusely.
As I sat down for the briefing, all around me were deputies taking notes and being informed of any new cases. Although I wasn’t wearing a badge or a gun on my hip, I felt like I was a part of something very special.
Later I was introduced to Deputy Sheriff Jon Ilaga, whom I would be with for a 10-hour ride-along.
We went on calls that varied from welfare checks to suspicious activities in the park. Most of the time officers are used as mediators.
Jerry Manduca has been a professor at the McClellan Public Safety Center for eight years, and worked at the sheriff’s department for 27 years. Manduca recalls his time on the force as “an awesome job, very rewarding and exciting all at the same time.” He was also a sniper in the Sacramento Good Guys electronics store hostage situation in 1991.
Manduca explained the difference between SWAT and patrol.
“In patrol, all the calls are 911 dispatched. They are exciting and chaotic and you are trying to get there quickly and help out,” said Manduca. “SWAT is a more controlled environment; it is still exciting but just a little slower process.”
Police officers make mistakes just as we do but, because they are in the public’s eye, are held to higher standard.
The sheriff I rode with made sure that he thought every single action through; his heart wasn’t an icebox.
The most important thing as a police officer is to figure out what is most important and make split decisions.
These men and women that serve us can work so hard keeping the streets safe that their families may fall apart.
Steve Segura, dean of Sacramento Regional Public Safety Training Center at McClellan, has spent a number of years on the force.
“I retired as the deputy chief after 30 years (at) the Sacramento Sheriff Department. I spent time on patrol, special units and undercover narcotics,” said Seguara. “(You can) spend more time at work than at home, especially during the week.”
I learned that police are more than just people we call when someone breaks into our house; they are counselors, judges, and most of all, humans.