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Thread: Can the cops give you a ride?

  1. #1
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    Default Can the cops give you a ride?

    I grew up watching the old shows you see on Nick at night and it seems the cops were a generic service for a range of needs one may have. I think one show the cop actually rode in a taxi cab for some reason I cant recall.

    Anyway, not being about to drive Ive asked the cops for a few rides. One response I got was a quiz about how much money I had and or a credit card. He proceeded to call a cab for me. Another said he would give me a ride, but his car was full of equipment in the back. Passenger seat looked empty, but maybe he had his AV gear taking up that spot or something. Another cop did offer one in his private truck, he was in uniform, but not driving a marked or unmarked car. Last cop I asked again asked about my money situation, told him I had 3 bucks an a credit card. He told me to ask a local store to call me a cab or wait 3 hours for the last bus to roll through.

    All these happened at different times and places. Is there a code of when a cop can give you a lift? Can they help you with a cab?

    Just wondering....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Most dept's have policies on rides, they can't do it. Also to be fair they have a cab list at dispatch, so an officer can call dispatch to call a cab company. They also don't like people up front for safety reasons.

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    Flashaholic* cratz2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Yeah, different depts will have different regulations... I'd have to hazzard a guess that most larger cities will have policies against giving rides for no particular reason.

    In Indianapolis, unless you know the officer or possibly if you are a known 'good guy that gets himself into trouble' type character, you are quite unlikely to get a ride anywhere other than to lockup.
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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    As what VWTim alluded to. But I was given a ride home by the CHP (California Highway Patrol) when I got into a wreck on HWY 101. The officer called it in and proceeded to drive me home, which was about a 30 minute ride from the scene of the accident to my home out in the boonies.

    I'm guessing that it depends.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    My agency discourages giving rides. My personal policy is only to give rides that are job related: safety, witness to a crime, and of course, arrested suspect.

    This also applies to people who need a tow.

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    Flashaholic* BatteryCharger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    That's not their job, nor the service they are supposed to be offering the community. If they just gave rides to everyone willy nilly, they would be wasting a TON of resources and time they shouldn't be. If someone is a victim of a crime or an accident involving their transportation and has no other way to get home that's one thing, otherwise you should be taking the bus like everyone else who can't drive.
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Giving rides without a legitmate reason is not the purpose of the police.

    A friend and fellow co-worker was shot and killed two weeks ago when he happened to check on an car that was parked along the road. Think about it - if he was just giving someone a ride for no legitimate reason, there may have been two funerals because he was being a nice guy and giving someone a ride.

    Police officers have a dangerous job and giving rides without a good cause only puts other peoples lives in jepordy.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Numbers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    No rides,
    In addition to what Battery charger said,
    I think that it is a general policy of governmental units to not compete with legitimate for profit businesses (except in cases of emeregency), in this case the bus and cab companies.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* cratz2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Not only the reasons listed, but it also:

    1. Takes time away that the could be doing something perhaps more beneficial to the community.

    2. Is a liability. If a few officers in each city give a handful of rides each night, over the course of a year, there will be MANY accidents while non-essential civilians are in police cars. There WILL be lawsuits.

    If it's a matter of safety (car is broken down in a VERY bad neighborhood), that's one thing. But again, unless the person is known to the officer, there are FAR more reasons NOT to give rides than to give them.
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    Flashaholic* Silviron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    And another reason that they don't give rides outside of official business is because if they get a 'hot call' on the way or happen to see a crime being committed with a civilian in their car, they can get sued if the passenger even gets upset, much less injured or killed.

    Back a few decades ago it used to be pretty easy where I lived for an ordinary citizen to do a 'ride along'...... Until one night when something big happened, and units from all over town responded at high speed to a Code 3 / Code 30 call...

    One ride along was badly injured in an accident, the other was just 'scared' to be going so fast.... They both sued the PD and the city, they both won big settlements, and the 'ride along' program stopped permanently.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Big settlement, you say. . . ?

    Hmm. I've gone pretty fast on some pursuits, maybe I should sue. Of course, I was driving, but still . . .big settlement.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    I think it depends on the location and the situation. I've been given rides by officers a few times but it was clear there was discretion involved (I vaguely remember one incident where my junk heap car broke down a mile from home and a cop pulled over wanting to know why I was walking down a normally non-pedestrian road carrying a toolbox, then gave me a ride when I told him).

    It's probably more relaxed in a small town environment where people all know each other. As an extreme example, a couple summers ago I visited a friend who lived in a backwoods town, and we decided to walk to the next backwoods town up the road (about 3 miles, nice scenic stroll). We got there, did a couple things, and started walking back, when my friend decides she's tired of walking, and flags down a passing cop car and asks for a lift! I felt embarassed by that. But she and the officer knew each other and chatted it up on the way back. I still never would have done such a thing.
    Last edited by paulr; 03-13-2006 at 11:55 PM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Silviron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightraven
    Big settlement, you say. . . ?

    Hmm. I've gone pretty fast on some pursuits, maybe I should sue. Of course, I was driving, but still . . .big settlement.
    Yeah, the person injured got a few millions (he WAS badly injured, a couple million $ for hospital bills and loss of income and that kind of thing, (which was probably fair) but also a million or so 'punitive' damages, which just wasn't right since he asked to go on a 'ride along'.

    The person who was merely frightened got like $100,000 for 'mental anguish'.

    Dang lawyers and stupid juries.

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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    This is a good question and most departments answers will most often be similiar. The factor within my department is indeed liability. I have insurance on myself and any prisoners within my car during normal business transports. If I am going to jail and have an accident or even get involved in a shoot out any passenger will be covered if they are in my patrol car for business or criminal reasons.

    If I am simply giving a little old lady a ride to the airport and have a nasty wreck the first question my Chief will ask is why did you have a passenger and why are we being sued by this little old lady with a hurt back? It is sad to say but you can not trust the kindness of others very much these days and many officers start out to do the right thing and will end up in trouble for violation of policy.

    Many cops in general will shy away from free transports simply as they want to take no risks at all. If it is an emergency then it is covered and if done correctly many incidents can be labeled as an emergency.
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    As a general rule, no, except for a ride to jail if you get arrested. The reason has mainly to do with liability. If they have a crash, the police department can be sued big time. Also, from a practical standpoint if the police happen to be called to a crime scene while giving you a ride they have two choices-either bring you along or drop you off where they happen to be when they get the call. Neither option is that attractive.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Many locations don't do extra services simply because the local businesses have asked the city not to compete.

    Rides: Taxi
    Gas : Tow truck
    Locked out: Locksmith
    Flat tire: Gas Station
    First aid (non-emergency): paramedics

    and on and on.

    I know that in some states the locksmith loby has made it illegal to open a locked car for someone unless you are a licensed locksmith. The rational was to prevent damage and enhance security. The real reason was job security.

    Daniel

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Lips's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    The policy is no but in my expierence it is done all the time...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Have recieved 3 rides.
    1) was pulled over having an expired inspection sticker. Forgot to get my car inspected ( and didn't renew registration either). Just tooling along doing the speed limit thinking everything is cool and the cop pulls me over. Gave me a ticket for not getting the car inspected- not for the registration- which was nice of him. Then he gave me a ride to work.
    2) my cars transmission locked up at 50 mph on a dry road in the winter. Did several 360's just watching the world go by. Luckily wound up on top of a snow bank instead of hitting anything hard. Cop gave me a ride home to my door.
    3) took a bike ride across NJ to PA knowing a friend lived right across the border in Bristol. Didn't realize the bridge there had no sidewalk and was very narrow. Asked the cop sitting there if there was a way across somewhere else and he offered a ride across. I got the impression it was actually sort of his job.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Dang lawyers and stupid juries.
    Yup. That is what we all call them when we don't agree. Truth is thats justice. Win, or loose. Like it, or not. Once you go through the court system you have received justice. It is not only justice when you win.

    12 reasonable people disagree with an attorney, that has unlimited resources for his prosecution, (or an attorney for a government entity), and we throw around terms like "Dang lawyers and stupid juries."

    I work in a building where there are a lot of "alplhabet soup companies", and the attitudes between them, and the local LEO are like night, and day. So I believe a lot of it is discression. Whether it occurs on the street, or the administrative offices.

    The police are there to serve the public, not just contain them, and rule over them. This of course is just my discressionary opinion.
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Bravo Bravo!

    I have had a few rides for no reason, or better yet when there was potential for trouble. I used to hitch hike a 30 Km route to see a girl every Friday, the only traffic was on one of our larger highways, of course illegal to hitch hike on.. Every time I was caught I was questioned to my intentions, laughed at, then offered a ride home, to my destination or to the parallel desolate road.. Mind you, this was 20 years ago.. I even recall once when one officer radioed in and made an excuse as to why he would be unavailable for the next half hour.
    After reading all these police associated threads I am quickly coming to the conclusion that there is a major difference with Small town police. Having said that the officers on the highway are provincial police, equivalent to a state trooper.
    The things I used to do for the gals...

    Ooh, a better one..
    I was arguing with my girlfriend at the time, two in the morning, she was pretty mad at me for something that now evades me.. I lived in a dump apartment downtown above a business, not exactly high class.. As she was getting into her car I decided to prevent her from leaving by sitting on the hood. Next thing I knew we were travelling through town ( a one street business section) at a faster than comfortable rate of speed, I was hanging onto the windshield wiper arm.. I could see the police station getting closer then BAM, she hit the curb and sent me rolling onto the lawn of the police station, not a highlight of my life. A car pulled up to the corner and the door opened, "Dave, better get in here" I heard. The detective took me through a drive through coffee shop, we shared a laugh or two, then dropped my off back at my apartment, with a coffee. That could have ended much worse on many different levels.
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    This is my general response to people who request a ride just because they don't have one:

    "Does it say Taxi on the side of the car or Police?"

    As illustrated above...most Dept's, including mine discourage "courtesy" rides for obvious safety issues, and taking time away from possibly more important calls. There are of course certain circumstances that allow rides.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by RemingtonBPD
    This is my general response to people who request a ride just because they don't have one:

    "Does it say Taxi on the side of the car or Police?"
    None of my vehicles say "Taxi" either, but rest assured that if you ever find yourself in need of a ride and I happen to pass by, working or not, you won't have to walk.
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  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Arkayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    When I was 13, I was in the car with my best friend with his sister driving on a busy freeway. The car broke down and my friend and I had to walk 3/4 of a mile ahead to the call box. While at the callbox, a CHP officer shows up and we explain what happened. I got to sit in front and and he gave us a ride in REVERSE back to the car. That was pretty cool.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    I've received rides a few times and I think that some big factors on wether or not I got one were the distance, wether or not I was clean (not stinky), wether I asked politely (didn't do the "hey you're a public servent, I'm the public give me a ride" thing), the area and time of day (likelihood of an emergency call) and of course, the degree of animosity from the public the local department deals with. Some areas have a large gulf between 'us' and 'them'.

    Usually, when I managed to get a ride I was at a convinience store and only needed to go 3-4 miles. I was in an area where police get respect from most folks and it was during the day and I'd already been chatting with the officer for a few minutes. Unless there are explicit instructions against it, I got rides from cops who like being able to help folks out.

    But, I've done alot of hitchhiking in my time and I still pick up hitchhikers if I'm the only one in the car or if I'm with another adult male. It's probabally BS but I think some kind of mystical rule of "what goes around comes around" governs how lucky you are getting rides.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    i like to walk police always look at me when i walk gues cause i dont dress nice maybe they think im a bum
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Here are a few circumstances that I have given someone a ride that was not under arrest.

    The day before yesterday, a guy walked up to me and wanted to report someone committing a crime. I wasn't really the person he needed to talk to and my Spanish is a bit rusty, so I gave him a ride to a station. Because I didn't know him, I searched him for weapons, but let him ride up front.

    I passed an older guy walking along the road in a desert, north of town, where it was about 109 degrees. He told me his car broke down and he was walking back to town. I thought he might not make it alive, so I gave him a ride.

    I passed an older woman whose car was broken down on the Interstate. She had no phone and was miles from anywhere, so I gave her a ride to a gas station.

    A guy was walking around my operational area, lost, which is a bit dangerous and a distraction for us. He didn't break any laws, but he needed to be somewhere else. I searched him and gave him a ride to 7-11.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    I can't say much about today but in the past it was a departmental policy issue.


    In the 1967 I was 16 and hitchhiking home from my first job as a sailor so I could start high school again in the fall. It was over 800 miles to get home. At 2 or 3 AM I started hitching across Wisconsin. I got a ride from a pretty normal looking guy in a normal looking car. He asked me a lot of questions but there was nothing odd in that. Many folks would pick up hitchhikers at night to try to stay awake on the road.

    After a while he reaches under the dash, pulls out a mic and starts talking in official LEOspeak. I asked him what was up and he told me he was a LEO and he was on duty. He said that they always picked up hitchhikers to evaluate them and get them out of the county. The radio call was to notify the LEOs in the next county that they had me and that they would be dropping me off at their county line shortly.

    It was really a cool deal for everyone concerned. The LEOs got the me out of their jurisdiction and I got a continuous series of rides across county after county all the way across the state. They took me right to the Minnesota state line. I don't know if they also did it in the daytime.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 03-14-2006 at 12:29 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Damn, Sub, you lucked out! Course, you missed out on seeing all the naked polaroids it seems like every truckdriver carries with him.

    That happened to me when hitching in kansas, course, he wasn't conscientious enough to alert the next county that I was now there problem.
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  29. #29
    Flashaholic* cratz2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bravo25
    Yup. That is what we all call them when we don't agree. Truth is thats justice. Win, or loose. Like it, or not. Once you go through the court system you have received justice. It is not only justice when you win.

    12 reasonable people disagree with an attorney, that has unlimited resources for his prosecution, (or an attorney for a government entity), and we throw around terms like "Dang lawyers and stupid juries."

    I work in a building where there are a lot of "alplhabet soup companies", and the attitudes between them, and the local LEO are like night, and day. So I believe a lot of it is discression. Whether it occurs on the street, or the administrative offices.

    The police are there to serve the public, not just contain them, and rule over them. This of course is just my discressionary opinion.
    My mother worked in law for a long time... mostly business law where large sums of money often hang on the smallest detail and even more often, hang on who has more money to drag a trial out even longer.

    Very often, attorneys get fixated on a tiny detail and seek to collect lots of money because of these small details. When the spirit of the law is set aside to comply with a mundane detail, often unforseen at the time of writing, justice is NOT served.

    VERY overly simplified example: A temp company sends workers to a warehouse. Two guys show up on Monday, the first day for both of them. Througout the day, they both get 'hurt'. One guy steps on an upside down pallet that's pretty banged up and gets a tail through the foot so off he goes to the hospital where he racks up medical bills and will no doubt, suffer future earnings. The other guy lifts the pallet out of the way and 'hurts his back' even though he actually hurt it the last day of his previous job where there was no coverage. Again, medical bills ensue as does compensation for lost wages.

    They seem prety similar on the surface, but the latter scenario - and more specifically, the lawyers that seek to represent this type of client - are eating away profits that should be directed elsewhere. When the spirit of the law is thrown out the window because of blatant and intended dishonesty, one of two things usually happen. First, nothing. The loss is minor enough that profits far outweigh the loss. Second, lawmakers are forced to clarify and ammend policies and courts are forced to make decisions to prevent future such abuses of policy. If it's the latter, then we have pitted an acting body against dishonest, and often unlawful, citizens and attorneys. This only helps the self-serving folks looking for a handout or easy money and penalizes hard working folks who keep the country running.

    Only my opinion though... hopefully it's shared by others.
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  30. #30
    Flashaholic Ras_Thavas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can the cops give you a ride?

    I've given a few people rides back when I worked patrol. It is generally discouraged for all the reasons listed above, however, you can get away with it if you can articulate a good reason for what you are doing. For instance, a person walking down a road with no sidewalk at night in the rain. I might give them a ride just so I won't have to work an auto pedestrian accident involving them later on.

    There are a lot of variables involved though, that often can't be explained in the few moments you will have the attention of the officer.

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