Calgary Police Ride Along: my adventure

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Note: we’ve been on multiple ride alongs, click here to see them all!

Calgary Police Ride Along

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours recommended going on a Calgary Police ride along to see what it’s like for police officers to work in Calgary. We filled out the forms and waited for them to be looked over and granted. Took about 2 weeks for that, then one additional week to discuss permission to live-tweet the experience (something not allowed normally – we asked and they granted as a one-time thing. If you ask, the answer will likely be no – just a heads up). The Calgary Police work hard to maintain a positive and professional image, and it shows. Before this ride along, we have only had positive experiences with the CPS. Anyway – I wanted to share a more in depth post about my ride along and what I learned/saw/experienced.

Friday October 24th 2014 

I was paired up with Constable Chris Martin, a 3 year Calgary cop ex Airforce officer. Very friendly guy, had no problem just being myself around him. He regularly works in District 6, so that’s where my ride along was.

Calgary Police Ride Along
Each district is also separated into zones.

5:00 pm mt – ride along start

I met Chris at his station and we went over what I should expect on the ride along, and what I could and couldn’t tweet. No addresses, locations, names or any really specific details. Nothing private in nature. A car collision? it’s out in public – no expectation of privacy whatsoever. The inside of someone’s house? not so public. You get the idea, basically, just use common sense.

We started by grabbing a coffee. This was our ride, one of the newer vehicles. I’m not a car guy so I don’t really know much about it. Still had new car smell.

We were contacted by the RCMP from a small town in Alberta to do a missing persons check in Calgary. The phone company had a ping off her cell phone (with an accuracy of about 70 meters), so we were directed to a specific address and we were off. The house was dark, no answer at the door, pretty obviously not it. The cell phone pings are helpful but not very accurate. Cst. Martin and I had a lengthy discussion about the benefits of a landline.

An example with a cell phone 911 call. If the caller hangs up or isn’t able to tell the operator where they are, it could delay emergency response – if at all. With a landline, the moment a call goes through to the 911 dispatch, they have your address and information. It could mean life or death, the difference between a home landline or just a mobile phone.

After finding nobody home there is some paperwork. And phone work. Every single thing the CPS do has to be documented. Even so much as flipping on their emergency lights. A reason has to be provided to the higher up brass as to why lights were flicked on and all the details. If the reasoning isn’t sufficient, the officer could face discipline. In fact, the amount of redundancy that exists within the force is incredible. Everything is written down, filed, submit, explained for review and checked. The CPS do not fuck around, this isn’t Texas or Arizona. Our cops are professional, hard working and putting their lives on the line to stop bad guys. Not only that, saving lives. I asked Cst. Martin about his craziest calls. He mentioned a recent stabbing near Chinook. Someone was randomly attacked and Chris arrived right away. For 45 minutes he held his fingers in the victim’s neck to stop the bleeding while he was transferred to hospital and right into surgery. The man survived! Chris chalked it up to being part of his everyday job, and really wanting to help people and make our city a better place. Guy’s a hero, and nobody even really knows about it. One of many lives saved by this guy, and it’s part of the job. That’s so awesome. Very admirable.

This is their new in-vehicle ‘CAD’ system. I had never seen the previous system they used, so no idea how to compare the two. It shows a lot of real-time info to officers, like calls other officers are on and their location via GPS. They use this to provide backup to each other, it’s really efficient.

7:01 pm mt

As Chris and I were waiting at a red light just talking, a car blew past right in front of us. Immediately Chris flicked on the lights, siren, radioed it in and we went after them. Caught up to them pretty quickly and a speeding ticket was issued. We weren’t looking for speeders or measuring speed, so we didn’t know how fast they were going – it was obviously faster than the other traffic, so he was cited for ‘unreasonable rate of speed’ I believe it to be. I didn’t ask what was fine was.

7:27 pm mt

As we were driving around just after the speeder, a call came through about a vehicle on fire nearby. We headed there quickly with two other units, all of us arriving at the same time. It was a tiny fire in a vehicle someone was working on, and out by the time we arrived. Nobody was even there, guess they went back inside.

8:18 pm mt

Received notice of a vehicle collision nearby, so we headed that way down Deerfoot trail with lights and sirens.

Something I learned about emergency vehicles and lights/sirens; they can cause accidents. While we were on Deerfoot trail for example, in the below vine video, people all reacted differently to the police car. Some slowed, some drove to the side and really slowed down, most just changed lanes to allow us by.

If an inexperienced driver is also going down Deerfoot, or grandma or even a drug dealer panicking, vehicles could start flying into things all over the place. The last thing they want to do is cause an accident.

8:20 pm mt

Got there pretty quickly. A man had experienced a medical emergency and ended up driving into the truck. He was placed in an ambulance and transported to the hospital, but nobody was hurt otherwise.

Part of the paperwork the officers do at accident scenes is ‘damage stickers’. They’re part of the report to document where a vehicle is damaged, then share this with local auto body shops. If someone did a hit and run, this would be used in tracking them down.

Calgary Police Ride Along
Damage cards

Everything is documented. Everything. If multiple officers arrive at a scene, often they’ll split up the work between them to speed up the process. It might be a little lengthy but it is necessary and important. Give the cops a break if you see them blocking off an accident scene for a long time. Gotta do it!

10:11 pm mt

After driving around and checking the ‘usual’ shady spots for drug dealers or break and enter’ers, a call was put out to assist an officer. This can range from something really minor to shots fired. Cops take these calls very seriously. We showed up and were presented with a guy who had some warrants and needed to be taken in. The guy was very cooperative and didn’t argue or fight back. When asked if he had any drugs on him, he immediately admitted to having some crack. About $60 worth.

Because of the mans nice behavior, Cst. Martin chose not to charge him with possession of it. Respect towards officers goes a long way. He was still arrested so we headed downtown to jail with him. It’s otherwise known as CSS (court services section) and is located within the old police headquarters downtown, across from City Hall. This is where they’re booked, searched again more thoroughly, then placed into cells. If they’re hungry, they get a juice box and cheese sammich. (it probably isn’t very good)

Calgary Police Ride Along
Mugshot spot

I can imagine about a million people have stood here. It’s where prisoners stand to have their mugs shot. From here their belongings are booked and they go into cells.

Calgary Police Ride Along Christopher Robin

They have this picture up on the glass for people to look at when mugshots are taken. Always knew that Christopher Robin was a dick.

After the guy was booked, we had to head down to an evidence locker room to bag up and book his belongings. After this was done we had to head to a drug booking room. The crack was weighed, documented, bagged and placed in a locker. From here it’ll be shipped off to be tested and confirmed X drug, then destroyed.

11:57 pm

Back on the street after dealing with the arrest. We were pretty hungry by this point, so went for donairs. Went to a joint called Pita Stop. Everything was fresh and it was amazing. Donairs at midnight is always the best idea. Try it.

12:39 am mt

Back out on the street. Heading to a nearby pathway to check for rapscallions being nogoodniks. A lot of people selling drugs use the cover of night to deal in parks and areas where people shouldn’t be. We drove (carefully!) along this pathway in order to reach a parking lot which should be empty this time of night. We approached dark, no lights. Found a car in the parking lot! He saw us and turned around to leave. Immediately Cst. Martin gunned it and chased the vehicle down. The driver claimed he was going home. But somehow ended up in a dark and empty parking lot. Parking lots at night are a pretty obvious place where drugs go down. Happens quite often. The CPS aren’t stupid and patrol their districts quite often in these areas.

12:56 am mt

Found a vehicle full of people in a dark and empty parking lot. They had no reason to be there, as the public parks close at 11 pm. It was also not a ‘lit up’ area, very dark. The police spoke with them and sent them on their way outta there, everyone was professional, people were pleasant. Just a bunch of teens up to no good – being normal teens.

1:26 am mt

We stopped by the security office at Heritage Park to let the guy know about the vehicle, just to keep an eye on the area of the parking lot. While we were there the guard opened the gates and we went into the park to do a quick patrol for them. Teenagers are notorious for being drunk and trying to sneak into the park after dark. Chris drove his usual pattern when patrolling the park.

This road was down beside the Glenmore Reservoir. It was really interesting, getting to see the park after dark. The SS Moyie has been drydocked for the season. We didn’t find anyone in the park.

1:45 am mt

Call came over the radio as we were patrolling elsewhere, a drunk driver heading down Macleod Trail, right for us. Lights and sirens turned on, we drove towards him. Unfortunately, we didn’t find him. Other units pursued him in another direction. Lights and sirens shut off. I heard a lot of drunk driver calls over the radio for all over the city.

1:55 am mt

We came across a cabbie who was pissed off at his occupants for spitting inside the cab. They paid their fare and left, with much dudebro cheering and yelling and just being obnoxious bro drunk guys.

2:01 am mt

Showed up at a gas station to fuel up. At the same time, there were like 3 police cars and a van, all fueling up as well. It reminded me of women all peeing together.

2:22 am mt

Disturbance call for a bar on Macleod trail. The guy was roughed up by the bouncers. All bloody, likely drippings from a bloody nose. He was really angry for a few minutes, then left with a friend rather than seeking medical treatment from the ambulance that arrived. No charges far as I know, everyone just chalked it up to some asshole being drunk and causing trouble and getting what he asked for. (at least this is my interpretation of the events).

2:41 am mt

Call for a disturbance at a strip club. Some guy engaging in fisticuffs with the bouncers.

We arrived at the club pretty quickly and were greeted in the parking lot by like 25 people. They were all pointing and yelling where to go find the ‘guy’ or group. We drove around the corner and were presented with a group of like 6 people guys kind of walking away. When they saw us, they scattered, a couple ran behind a building, one over Glenmore trail, another somewhere else.

We caught up with the guys behind the building. 3 of them. One matching the description of the main guy over the radio. Wife beater, shorts, stupid jersey shore haircut, you get the idea. Turns out he sprayed some bear mace and fought them. He had some warrants, so bamf! arrested. We took him downtown. He told us his life story, how everything was a big misunderstanding, he was sorry, we could search him, it wasn’t him, they jumped him, he wasn’t doing anything, etc. This seems to be a common theme among people being arrested.

3:38 am mt

We had just finished processing wife beater guy, getting another more-thorough search, when the officer found a baggie of cocaine. He got in some trouble.

Finding these drugs on him added another layer of paperwork. The reports they need to fill out are very detailed, and there are lots of them. As I’ve said earlier, everything is well documented and reviewed. Really impressed with their system! Except for the computer filing room. They’ve got some rinky-dink shitty office chairs in there. For the amount of time these guys are sitting and filling out reports, they should have proper back support at least.

These lockers are where all the drugs collected by officers go until they’re transported out. This room smelled like really strong weed when I took the picture. Everything is documented, sealed, locked away. Every door in the building has a swipe card lock btw, don’t even think about breaking in for the drug stash! (plus, you know, all the people with guns)

4:47 am mt

Just finally finishing up paperwork. Well, rather, I’m finished watching Chris do paperwork. I started looking through this law book, noticed the dedication. After the recent Ottawa shooting events and spending a night with a cop, they really do put their lives on the line for us. Respect.

(Thank you /u/StraightTalkExpress on reddit for the info)

Here are the four officers named in the book. Click for more info.

Calgary Police Ride Along
Sergeant Ryan Russell
Calgary Police Ride Along
Constable Sébastien Coghlan-Goyette
Calgary Police Ride Along
Constable Michael Potvin
Calgary Police Ride Along
Constable Chelsey Robinson







5:36 am mt

home. Sleep.

How can you go on a Calgary Police ride along?

I was asked a few times throughout my ride along about how someone applies to go. I wasn’t really sure how to respond, so I didn’t. Sorry! I have however contacted the CPS and specifically asked:

Basically anyone 18 years old and older that is a resident of Calgary can apply for a ride along. Not all will be approved, of course, based on the background check conducted.

Ride-along participants are limited to one ride-along unless approved by a District Commander. Those with a serious interest in a career as a member of CPS may be approved for more than one ride-along.

To apply, people should attend the District Office of where one would want to go on the ride-along and request a Police Observer Application Form and the Police Observer Waiver of Liability Form. These are completed and submitted to the District for consideration. Some Districts may not be accepting ride-alongs due to a variety of reasons but I have no status available on each District.

 Once the application is processed and the background check completed the applicant is contacted to work out a date for the ride-along. If the application is denied the applicant will be advised of the reason if appropriate.

 Also the general public should know that ‘live tweeting’ a ride along is prohibited unless given permission by the Public Affairs / Media Relations Unit. And they can safely assume the response to that request will be ‘no’.

District Offices here:

In Conclusion: Calgary Police Ride Along

So there we go. That was my ride along. I really enjoyed the experience and learned a LOT of stuff about their inner workings. As well, worth mentioning; Constable Chris Martin has spent a good portion of his life helping other people and serving the public, he has a lot of interesting stories and is an exemplary officer. Happy to have him out on our streets helping people and stopping the bad guys. Thanks for the ride along Chris!

Thank you to the Calgary Police for allowing me to live-tweet the experience.

Ps. We miss you on twitter Constable Jared Euverman. Come back and visit someday!

Calgary Police Ride Along
Constable Jared Euverman



Timelapse in Calgary: A Collection of my Videos

Retro Calgary, old timey and lovely.


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