The sheriff department session started with a ride along. We were supposed to all do them on the same night, but I had to pick up my daughter and grandson from the airport. So I rescheduled mine for another time.
I had an interesting time on my ride-along. All the calls that night were mental health related, except for the one where we were assisting a social service worker take two children from their mother. That was heartbreaking, but it looked like the mom was going to do the things she needed to to get them back. Praying for a good conclusion to that.
My ride started about 7:00pm and it was one call right after another.It was a chilly night, so, each time I got out of the car, it left me shivering! We had everything the night I rode—a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk, a woman who couldn’t get her adult son to come in the house (she said he was having a ” psychotic episode.” Turned out he wasn’t, he just didn’t want to go in the house. We even had to take one woman in to the mental hospital. She had been there before and was refusing to get out of the car. But the deputy talked her through it in order to get her to go in willingly. By 11:00pm I was done. If you know me, you won’t be surprised to hear that I was nodding off in the sheriff’s car. Think he was relieved to drop me back at my car at the station.
I was glad I did it. I could really see how busy these guys are.
Besides the ride along, the session was a trip out to the Sheriff Training Center. Now that was a different story! We got to shoot guns and drive simulated Cop cars! No nodding off there.
We went through a brief overview of the sheriff’s department. They said that in Tampa the ratio of police to residents is one Tampa Police Officer to each 1000 residents. The ratio of sheriffs to residents in Hillsborough County is one deputy to 1000 residents. I figure that each deputy is doing the work of 6 men. And after my ride along, I believe it.
One of the reasons for the shortage of deputies is that the training requirements are higher than most other law enforcements. It’s also a long process. So many people don’t want to put in the time required. We really need to be praying for God to send these people to serve.
ON a brighter note, it was also good to hear that some of the local businesses and churches had partnered with the Sheriff to offer a quiet place to write reports, have a cup of coffee or use the bathroom during their shift. It’s not only helpful, it also avoid the deputies from having to fill out reports in their cars in open spaces.