6-15 Community Ride-Along Program
Policy Type: Local
Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department Initial
Policy Approved: 6/8/2013
Current Revision Approved: 6/9/2021
The VCU Police Department (VCUPD) offers a Ride-Along Program that allows for a VCU student, staff or faculty member or other citizen, VCUPD applicants, or media personnel to request to ride along with a VCUPD officer during a designated shift. The program allows the selected applicant to view firsthand the daily activities of a VCU police officer and the issues facing today’s law enforcement. The observer may request to ride in any area, at any time, or with a particular officer. If convenient to the department and conditions permit, authorization may be granted for a Ride-Along request. The safety of non-police personnel shall remain a primary concern.
All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any policy violations are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated, as necessary.
- The prospective Ride-Along participant must complete a VCUPD-9A Ride-Along Application, which may be obtained from VCUPD Headquarters located at 224 E. Broad St. in Richmond, VA.
- The applicant must return the completed VCUPD-9A Ride-Along Application to VCUPD Headquarters located at the above address to the attention of the Training and Education Sergeant who serves as the Ride-Along Program Coordinator.
- Upon receipt at VCUPD Headquarters, all completed VCUPD-9A Ride-Along Applications shall be forwarded to the Ride-Along Program Coordinator for further review and processing. The Ride-Along Program Coordinator shall perform a records check on the Ride-Along applicant.
- Any felony conviction or conviction for any misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude may prohibit the applicant from participating in the Ride-Along Program. All other disclosed convictions or issues discovered during the background investigation shall be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Once the Ride-Along Program Coordinator has reviewed the application and completed the records check for the applicant, the Ride-Along Program Coordinator shall forward the application packet to the Captain of Patrol or their designee for final approval.
- Once an applicant’s Ride-Along Application has been fully processed, the Ride-Along Program Coordinator shall notify the applicant, via email or phone, whether or not they have been selected to participate in the Ride-Along Program.
- The Ride-Along Program Coordinator shall maintain a record of all applications received by the department, along with the dates and times of those persons selected to participate in the program.
- At the conclusion of the Ride-Along, the Ride-Along Program Coordinator shall encourage participants, via email, to complete an electronic participant satisfaction survey.
Rules Governing the Program
- Any felony conviction or conviction for any misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude may prohibit the applicant from participating in the Ride-Along Program. All other disclosed convictions or issues discovered during the background investigation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- VCU affiliates (students, faculty or staff) are limited to two (2) ride-along tours per academic semester and non-affiliate participants are limited to one (1) per calendar year, unless an exception is granted by the Chief of Police or their designee.
- The participant must report to VCUPD Headquarters located at 224 E. Broad St. in Richmond, VA for the scheduled Ride-Along. Under no circumstances will the Ride-Along participant be picked up at any other location.
- The participant must be at least eighteen (18) years of age, unless the Chief of Police or their designee grants an exception.
- During a Ride-Along, the use of cameras or recording equipment is prohibited, unless the Chief of Police or their designee has granted prior written approval. The written approval must be attached to the completed Ride-Along Application.
- No participant is permitted into a residence or any other location where the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy without first receiving the occupant’s consent. Wilson v. Layne, 526 U.S. 603, (1999).
- No Ride-Along participant shall be armed with any weapon, unless the Chief of Police or their designee has granted prior written approval. The written approval must be attached to the completed Ride-Along Application.
- Only one participant will be assigned to an officer at any one time, unless prior written approval has been granted by the Chief of Police or their designee.
- Selected participants must dress in business or neat casual attire in order to participate in the Ride-Along Program.
- An employee’s family member(s) must have special written approval from the Chief of Police or their designee in order to Ride-Along with the employee. The written approval must be attached to the completed Ride-Along Application.
- Any law enforcement officer that participates in the Ride-Along Program shall be treated as if in a civilian capacity, and the officer(s) shall not be permitted to be in uniform during the scheduled Ride-Along. As described above, all other rules governing this program shall apply in such instances.
- VCUPD personnel assigned a Ride-Along participant shall operate the vehicle with due regard for the participant's safety.
- VCUPD officers shall not be permitted to engage in any pursuit until the Ride-Along participant has been discharged to a safe location.
- The Chief of Police or their designee will consider any exceptions to these rules based on individual merit.
- When the selected Ride-Along participant arrives at VCUPD Headquarters, the shift supervisor shall check the participant’s driver’s license or other form of photo ID. Prior to departing for the scheduled Ride-Along, the participant must sign and date the VCUPD-9B Liability Waiver Form in the presence of a witness(es). Attached the completed waiver form to the participant’s completed VCUPD-9A Ride-Along Application, and the participant's name will be placed on the roster beside the name of the officer or other personnel with whom the participant has been assigned to ride.
- The officer assigned to the Ride-Along participant shall notify Dispatch of the presence of the Ride-Along participant.
- Upon the conclusion of the Ride-Along tour, the on-duty supervisor shall forward the participant’s completed VCUPD-9A Ride-Along Application and VCUPD-9B Liability Waiver Form packet to the RideAlong Program Coordinator. All Ride-Along applications shall be kept on-file for a period of one year.
- VCUPD-9A Ride-Along Application
- VCUPD-9B Liability Waiver Form
- VCUPD-9C Ride-Along Checklist
This policy supersedes the following archived policies:
6/8/2013 - 6-15 Community Ride-Along Program
7/5/2017 - 6-15 Community Ride-Along Program
4/4/2019 - 6-15 Community Ride-Along Program