Arrests are much more work than I realized
I thought once the man was arrested, Lay would quickly drop him off at the jail and head out on patrol again. But I was wrong.
The arrest, pat down and collection of evidence at the scene took at least 30 minutes. Once we arrived at the jail, it took about another 30 minutes for Lay to write up a detailed report of the arrest.
Finally, Lay had to return to the police station to log the evidence. At that point, Lay had only about an hour left in his shift, and he told me the paperwork would take up the remainder of the time.
While I wanted to hit the streets again and see more action, I know that properly documenting the evidence from an arrest is important. It protects the rights of the suspect as well as provides the commonwealth’s attorney with the information needed to prosecute the case.
I had thought spending an entire eight-hour shift in a police car would go slowly, but the evening passed by quickly. I would encourage anyone who wants to know more about police work to fill out the ride-along application. The forms are available at the Richmond Police Department, 1721 Lexington Road.
Finally, I would like to thank Officer Lay for putting up with all my questions. Besides the points outlined in this column, the most valuable part of the ride-along was getting to know an officer as an individual. Lay has known he wanted to be a police officer ever since he was a small child who idolized Robocop, and it’s inspiring to see him fulfill that dream by being a member of the RPD.