I will admit, I had no idea what a police officer did on a daily basis.
Sure, I’ve seen them drive around. And eat at fast food places. And walk around community events.
Seems like a pretty cushy job, right?
Man, I was wrong.
I recently (I use the word “recently” loosely) completed the Citizen’s Academy through the Worthington Police Department.
It’s a weekly class that teaches regular citizens the different aspects of law enforcement.
We learned about topics ranging from traffic to investigations to prosecution. Officers came in to talk with us about different aspects of their job.
The program was led by Det. Kevin Flynn, a veteran of the WPD, and made the class enjoyable.
As part of the program, we were able to go to the shooting range. So, on a Saturday morning, we loaded up and drove south of town to the WPD’s range.
The targets presented to us were a little too big for me, so I brought a quarter. I didn’t think that would be an issue. After all, I’d played Duck Hunt for hours growing up on the Nintendo. This was the same thing, right?
Boy, was I wrong.
While I did come very close to hitting my mark, I didn’t actually hit the quarter. One of the officers took one of the guys and hit the quarter on one of his first shots. Granted, he’s probably had a little more practice than I have.
Another aspect of the course was to go on a ride-along with an office.
I was paired with Tyler Olson.
It was then I realized what exactly an officer has to do on a daily basis.
I rode with him for four hours, and during those four hours, we were almost constantly busy.
We stopped a couple of cars for different reasons. We assisted on a call to one of the medical establishments in town. We investigated a report of a possible domestic assault. We responded to an injury where crews were working on Highway 60. We responded to a gentleman who was having a heart attack. Because of the closeness of those two calls, the ambulance driver was alone when he showed up and needed someone to drive. Another officer we were with volunteered to drive the ambulance to the hospital and leave his car. I volunteered to drive the squad car to the hospital. Unfortunately, I was told that wasn’t allowed.
The last event of the night was a check on a warrant. There was reason to believe a gentleman from Pennsylvania was in Worthington. We checked two different locations with no luck.
So in a matter of four hours, Tyler had to be many things. He had to be a family counselor. And a medic. The list goes on and on.
What impressed me about Tyler was his enthusiasm and love for the job. He was excited about protecting and serving this community and doing the best job he possibly could.
And as our Citizen’s Academy class came to an end, we celebrated with cake and coffee.
It was amazing how much I learned during the process, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. If anything, you get to shoot guns and ride around in a cop car for a few hours — in the front seat that is.
If you are interested in finding out when the next class will begin, contact Kevin Flynn at the WPD.