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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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0630.30 Community Policing Citizen Ride-Along Program



  • DIR 630.05 Vehicle Pursuits
  • Ride-along Request Form (Intranet)
  • Ride-along Vest/Jackets (Facilities)


POLICY (630.30)

The ride-along program is designed to promote a mutual understanding and respect between the police and the community by providing the opportunity for citizens to ride with and observe members performing their job. The ride-along program is a tool which increases the community’s understanding of police policies and procedures. The program helps reveal the complexity and variety of services performed by Bureau members and is a valuable tool in introducing potential recruits to the duties and responsibilities of police work in the City of Portland.

PROCEDURE (630.30)

Directive Specific Definitions

Ride-alongs: Individuals who ride as an observer with a member in a police vehicle to observe police actions.

Community Member Responsibilities (630.30)

Citizens are welcome to apply for a ride-along. Ride-along applicants are responsible for completing and adhering to the Ride-Along Request form.

Member Responsibilities (630.30)

a.  When received, forward completed and signed Ride-along Request form to the appropriate relief sergeant; direct the citizen to verify their ride-along request 24-hours in advance with the relief sergeant.

b.  Prior to facilitating the ride-along, the member will ensure that the Ride-along Request form has been signed by all parties involved, and a records check of the applicant was performed.

1.  The police records check for a ride-along applicant shall consist of a Portland Police Data System (PPDS) records check, the Law Enforcement Data System/National Crime Information Center (LEDS/ NCIC) inquiry, Computerized Criminal History (CCH) and Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) check.

2.  Forward the signed Ride-along Request form to the relief sergeant, attaching the printouts of the records checks. Members are encouraged to keep a photocopy of the Ride-along Request form in the event of an emergency.

c.  Ride-alongs must be at least 16 years of age. Exceptions to this minimum age must be authorized by the RU manager. In addition to the minor signing the form, their parents/guardians must also sign.

d.  Instruct the ride-along in his/her basic role:

1.  Remain in or return to the police vehicle during dangerous and sensitive situations (i.e., homicide, sex crime, deaths etc.).

2.  Comply with all directions given by a member.

3.  Do not operate equipment, unless a member’s safety is an issue or receive member permission.

4.  Be an observer. Do not become involved verbally or physically unless an officer’s safety is an issue or directed to do so. The City will not be liable for a ride-along’s unauthorized intervention.

e.  Ride-alongs must be in civilian clothing and wear a ride-along vest/jacket on their outer clothing at all times when in the field. When not in the field, the vest/jacket may be removed (i.e., in a restaurant for meals, community meetings, etc.).

f.   Ride-alongs will not carry a firearm, even if they have a concealed weapons permit. The exception is a certified police officer.

g.  Ride-alongs will not enter and/or remain in a major crime scene.

h.  Ride-alongs will limit their movements, absent exigent circumstances, to places open to the public and places to which the ride-along has consent to enter.

i.   Members with citizen ride-alongs will not become involved in vehicle pursuits.

j.   The personal safety of the member and the Bureau’s responsibilities to the community will be considered at all times. Therefore, members may terminate a ride-along at any time. If a ride-along has to be terminated, the member will take into consideration the rider’s age and drop them off at a safe location, (i.e., convenience store, fire station, restaurant, etc.).

Relief Sergeant Responsibilities (630.30)

a.  Approve, disapprove or reschedule ride-along requests, taking into consideration:

1.  Staffing level.

2.  Number of other ride-alongs on the relief.

3.  Records check.

4.  Appropriateness of the request.

b.  Ensure that a records check is completed prior to a ride-along.

c.  Request a volunteer member for the ride-along, or may assign the ride-along to an appropriate member.

d.  Ensure one ride-along per car. Exceptions must receive the sergeant’s pre-authorization.

e.  Ensure the signed ride-along form is placed into the permanent ride-along storage file at the precinct.

f.   Monitor the number of ride-alongs taken by an individual.

RU Manager Responsibilities (630.30)

a.  Facilitate the storage of Ride-along Request forms in alphabetical order for 10 years. This will allow retrieval in the event of a witness subpoena.

b.  Pre-authorize, by signing the Ride-along Request form, any ride-along which involves riding within the past 12 months or when less than 16 years of age.

c.  Ensure the availability of the ride-along vest/jacket.