Two weeks ago, on a Friday night into Saturday morning, I went on a ride along with a sheriff’s deputy.
One of my beats for the newspaper is the sheriff’s office. I have been covering the office for nearly five years, but I had never done what many reporters have done through the years—go out on patrol with a deputy.
I was excited about learning more about what happens behind the scene. I was a little nervous, too.
I had to sign a waiver form before the ride. I thought the form said I couldn’t get out of the car.
So I was pleased when we made our first call and the deputy asked me, “You coming with me?” She said in her experience, people riding along usually came along for the whole experience.
I knew before I ever went on the ride along that I probably don’t have the temperament to be in law enforcement. (Not that I ever seriously contemplated it. But I have always been interested in what the police and detectives do in their jobs.)
It seems to me that you have to be able to deal with a lot of uncertainty on the job. You never know what a call is really going to involve until you arrive on the scene. You never know when a shot of adrenaline is going to strike to get you through a situation.
So before the ride, I hoped I wouldn’t panic or get in the way if anything happened during the night.
And I didn’t panic. I didn’t feel especially anxious or worried. I enjoyed talking with the deputy and observing what happened.
One time I felt a shot of fear, but I remained quiet. The only change I noticed in myself was that I became more alert.
I still don’t think I was made for law enforcement. The constant state of readiness would wear me down, I think.
However, I did learn a bit more about my anxiety.
It was interesting to me that though I have a lot of anxiety, most of it centers on my thoughts and my perceptions, not on things that are actually happening in the present moment. It’s a different anxiety from what I feel in real-life situations that might be turn out to be the least bit dicey.
That realization made me more aware that the anxiety I feel on a daily basis can be helped by remembering that my thoughts are just thoughts. They don’t necessarily reflect reality.
If you’d like to read my story about the ride along and see photos, you can go HERE.
Is there a type of work that you’d like to explore more, even though you know it’s probably not work you’d ever do?