I received a few pairs of gym shorts as gifts from the holidays. Unfortunately, neither pair had a pocket to keep my phone in while I am at the gym. I decided to try and exchange the gifted shorts for some that would be more useful. There was a big box sporting goods store between the gym and my house.
I had visited the sporting goods store before the holidays looking for gifts for family members and then after the holidays in search of shorts I could use. They often had a deputy sheriff working as loss prevention who stood near the entrance to the store. Sometimes it was a female deputy who parked a K9 unit in front of the store. Other times it was a random male deputy. When there wasn’t a deputy, there was a guy whose shirt said police in large letters on its back. He wore a duty belt, but it wasn’t clear if he was affiliated with a specific department. I later learned, from a coworker who had a friend who was a deputy, that the sporting goods store had been experiencing a high volume of theft and had been employing the officers to help stop the shoplifting.
One cold and snowy weeknight, I decided to stop at the sporting goods store on my way home from they gym. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed there was a marked sheriff’s department SUV parked in the first row of spots. I parked my truck and headed into the store. There was about an hour before the store was set to close. I observed a handsome deputy standing near the entrance talking to one of the store employees. I headed back towards the men’s clothing section and looked at the shorts they had on display. Nothing really interested me, so I began checking out the sale and clearance racks they were positioned in the aisle. I didn’t find anything I wanted there either.
There couldn’t have been more than 3 other shoppers in the store. On my way to the exit, the sheriff was standing by himself near the entrance. He wore his vest over his uniform shirt and a lot of his gear was attached to it. The deputy looked to be around 40 years of age with short blond hair. I walked up to him and asked if I could experience being handcuffed. He opened a double cuff case on the front of his vest with his right hand and pulled out a pair of black melonite chain handcuffs. The deputy grabbed my right hand, thumb side down, with his left hand, thumb side up. He slapped the handcuff on with his right hand. My right arm was extended in front of me, palm facing out. The deputy had control of the cuffs and my arm with his right hand. He said that when they arrest some females, they must close the cuffs farther due to their small wrists and proceeded to close the cuff very tightly around my wrist.
The deputy took a long arm key off his duty belt, unlocked the cuff, and removed it from my wrist. He talked about how this pair was his favorite because they had a lever double lock. The deputy called them M&P cuffs. He showed me how to lift a lever on the cuff to double lock it instead of having to insert the butt end of a cuff key into hole or slot to double lock. I had never seen a pair of cuffs work like that. The deputy used the key to unlock the cuff completely and motioned like he was going to put them back in their pouch.
I asked if I could try them on behind my back and the deputy stopped putting his cuffs away. He told me to turn and face away from him. He grabbed my left hand with his left hand, turning my palm out, and pressing the handcuff on using his right hand. The deputy took hold of the handcuffs with his left hand and took my right hand with his right hand. With a quick move, the second cuff was applied, and the lever was pulled on both cuffs double locking them.
I turned to face the deputy with my hands double locked in his cuffs in the entrance to the sporting goods store. A couple store employees from the checkouts started to notice the interaction between the deputy and myself. The deputy pulled the second pair of handcuffs from the double pouch on his vest. They were a pair of Peerless hinged, my personal favorite. He talked about how they don’t allow for as much movement when applied properly. The deputy returned the hinged cuffs to their pouch and made a circle with his finger, signaling me to turn away from him. He inserted his key into the cuffs and after a turn in each direction, one to release the double lock and one to release the cuff, my wrists were free from the steel.
I looked at my wrists as I continued to face away from the deputy. I turned my head and asked if I could try the hinged handcuffs to see how they feel different. The deputy dropped the chain cuffs into their pouch and pulled out his hinged pair. He quickly repeated the application process and used the butt end of his cuff key to double lock both cuffs. I wiggled my wrists and commented how they were more restricting. The deputy took hold of my right hand and pulled up, which put some tension on my wrists and cause me to bend over, demonstrating how much more control the hinged pair provided. The deputy removed the hinged cuffs as quickly as he put them on, returned them to his vest pouch, and velcroed the pouch shut.
Following the suggestion of the clerk from the suburban department I had attempted to schedule a ride along with, I then asked the deputy what the sheriff’s department was allowing for ride alongs. He informed me that there were some forms to fill out on the departments website and was confident that ride alongs were happening again since restrictions related to the pandemic were lessening. I extended my hand to the deputy and told him my name. He shook my hand and told me his name. I wasn’t sure if he gave me his first or last name as it could have worked for either. As I exited the store, I walked past two store employees. The first chuckled at me as I walked by and the second shook her head as I walked out the door.
Once home, I searched for the sheriff’s department website and was able to locate the forms the deputy mentioned under their community relations tab. I printed the 3 forms: an application, a background check, and a waiver of liability. The site said that the forms should be mailed to the main department office. I completed the forms as best as I could and then noticed that they were to be signed in front of a notary. I wasn’t sure if this was to happen before they were submitted or when they were submitted.
The next day I stopped by the sporting goods store on my way home from the guy to see it the deputy was there to ask about the notarizing. He wasn’t there but the female deputy was. I asked her if the other deputy was going to be working there any time soon. She checked the schedule and said he was not. I asked if she could help me get in touch with him as I had a few questions to follow up on the conversation he and I had had. She gave me the phone number to the office he normally worked out of. I thanked her for the information and left the store.
The next afternoon, I used the phone number I was given and it sounded like it was for a fax machine. I googled the office location where the deputy worked from and after trying I few numbers, I was able to leave a message for the deputy. I was told by the dispatch that he was on duty and when he called back the number would come up as unlisted. A few minutes later, my phone rang showing an unlisted number. I answered and it was the deputy. I reminded him of who I was and where we met. I asked my questions about the ride along paperwork. He wasn’t sure about the notary question. I also asked if he was willing to host me for the ride along and he agreed. I said I wanted to thank the deputy by giving him a GShock watch since I noticed he didn’t have anything on his wrists. He said they were not supposed to accept gifts, but then said when we met up again that I could give him one. That seemed like a good sign that the ride along was going to happen.
The next week I decided to stop by the main sheriff’s office to turn in the paperwork and ask about it being notarized. I was buzzed into the lobby and spoke with the officer at the window. He was not sure what to do with my paperwork and said their notary had already left for the day. He photocopied by driver’s license and attached it to the three papers I had filled out. He said someone would be in touch with me in the next few days.
About two weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from anyone. I revisited the community relations website and found a few phone numbers to call. I spoke with a deputy who provided me with the Lieutenant from the departments phone number. I gave him a call and left a message. A short while later, my phone rang, and it was the Lieutenant. I explained who I was and asked if he knew of my paperwork. He said he would investigate and get back to me. Some days passed and I didn’t hear anything. Days turned into weeks and I was giving up hope that the ride along was going to happen. Once a week I called and left a message for the Lieutenant, never hearing back from him.
Then one afternoon, my phone rang, and the number seemed familiar though was not a stored contact. It was the deputy from the sporting goods store. He has directed by the Lieutenant to give me a call and set up the ride along. There was one paper that I was going to have to sign in front of him but the rest of what I had submitted was fine. The deputy said he was training the new class of recruits for the next three weeks but was available for some day shifts after that. The dates he suggested lined up with a planned week off from my work. He chose Thursday in hopes that there would be more action to see later on in the week.
The deputy informed me that riders typically arrive around 0900 and stay until they have had enough. His shift spans from 0700 to 1700. He gave me the address of the office he worked out of and told me I could park in the back by the other units. I was informed that my attire should be business casual and that jeans and sweatshirts were not allowed. I wrote down everything he told me and saved the date in my calendar. He said we should connect the week of the ride along to make sure it was still possible. I sent him a text to his work phone on the Monday before. He responded on Tuesday saying we were still on. I asked if I could bring a water bottle. He told me a polo shirt would be fine to wear.
The ride along is now tomorrow. I am nervous and excited. I really don’t want to annoy the deputy. I have been preparing questions to ask him throughout the day. I’m planning to bring two GShock watches with me for him to try out. I figured an analog one for the first half of the day and a digital one for the second half. If he liked either, he could keep the one he preferred at the end. I have also been thinking of asking him to give me a field sobriety test during the shift and hope I get to sit in the backseat in cuffs. I know its going to be a fun day and I will report out on the ride along in my next story.
To be continued in “Ride Along with the Deputy”…