The Sheriff's Office encourages community interest and involvement in the law enforcement process and allows reputable citizens and student interns to ride as passenger observers in Sheriff's vehicles for legitimate civic or educational reasons.
How To Request A Ride-along
You must be eighteen (18) years of age or older to ride.
Submit a written request to the Sheriff. Include your full name, phone number and/or email where you can be reached, date of birth, Social Security number, the reason you are requesting to ride (i.e. civic or educational reasons), the area of town you wish to ride in, and which shift you prefer.
Forward your request to the Department of Patrol Services (P.O. Box 3371, Tampa, Florida 33601) for screening.
Once your request has been received by a District/Division Commander, a criminal history check will be conducted, including the National Crime Information Center, Florida Crime Information Center and all local arrest files. (Requests by persons with criminal histories will be evaluated by the District/Division Commander and will be denied when there is reason to believe that approval of the request would not be in the best interest of the public or the Sheriff's Office.) The District/Division Commander will respond to your request by letter.
You may participate in the program once a year unless otherwise approved by the Sheriff.
Sheriff's Office non-sworn personnel requesting to ride with a deputy may do so by submitting an inter-office memorandum (for approval) via their chain of command to their District/Division Commander. You may participate in the program once a month, unless otherwise approved by the District/Division Commander. Civilian employees shall abide by the same guidelines as outlined for citizens
Once Approved To Ride
You must sign a Release and Indemnity Agreement Form (SO 226) that is supplied at each District/Division Office.
The District/Division Commander will review the signed form prior to your entering a Sheriff's Office Vehicle.
The Release and Indemnity Agreement shall specifically state the time period during which the observer will accompany deputies. If an extension is requested, and approved by the Sheriff, a second Release and Indemnity Agreement form shall be completed. Exceptional situations shall be addressed, as deemed appropriate by the District/Division Commander.
Your request-to-ride letter, a copy of the approval/disapproval letter, the criminal history printout and the original Release and Indemnity Agreement Form shall become part of your file and be maintained within the District/Division screening the request.
Wear business-like attire. (Casual clothing such as mini-skirts, halter tops, sun dresses, shorts, T-shirts, polo shirts, or denim jeans will not be permitted).
You will be required to wear a Citizen Observer Identification Badge, attached to your clothing in a visible location. (The deputy you ride with will request one for you from the district desk deputy, and turn it back in at the end of the shift).
Sheriff's Office non-sworn personnel who participate in the program shall wear their Sheriff's Office Employee Identification Badge.
If you wish to ride with a particular deputy you may ask the Shift Commander to allow you to do so. However the deputy must not be on probation, must have had a good performance rating, and cannot be related to you, or dating you.
If you do not request a specific deputy to ride with, the Shift Commander should attempt to assign you to a Field Training Officer if available.
When Riding With The Deputy
You will be under direct supervision of the deputy you are riding with.
You will be prohibited from assisting in criminal interrogations, chasing fleeing subjects, or physical confrontations involving arrests.
You will not exit the vehicle except upon specific instructions of the deputy with whom you are riding.