departments allow civilian riders. Make
sure you tell the person who approves
ride alongs that you are a police
candidate. Though I personally never
relished the thought of taking a civilian
rider on patrol (they were a pain) I did
enjoy police candidate riders. You will
often get a FTO (field training officer),
who is a teacher, so ask lots of relevant
questions. Departments often limit the
time a civilian can ride, so take
advantage... ride as long as possible.
While I just stated ask questions, be
mindful that the officer is on the job
observing, listening to the radio, and
responding to calls. Be respectful of his
duties, which takes priority over your

There will be lulls when the officer is just
driving -- that's when your questions will
break the silence, and often be
welcomed. Learn everything you can. If
this is your first ride along it can be a real
eye opener, depending on the call load.
At the end of your watch thank the
officer for his or her time, and for
answering your questions. If you formed
a rapport with the officer you now have a
friend on the department. He or she may
even put in a good word for you. Not
only that, but now you can use the ride
along in the Oral Board. For instance, if
asked a question such as, "What have
you done to prepare yourself for this
position?", you can state (along with
other examples) something like, "I did a
ride along with Officer Evans for five
hours on a Friday night. We responded
to several calls including a burglary in
progress, a vehicle break in, a prior sex
assault, and a bar fight."

Not only will the board members know
you care enough about the department
to complete a ride along, but I guarantee
you'll score extra points with them.
Points that could make a difference!
by George M. Godoy
Police Oral Interview
Most Police Oral Boards sit three to five
poker faced individuals comprising of
police personnel (police officers,
sergeants, detectives), city management
and possibly human resources
professionals. What occurs next is a
dramatic exchange that will change your
life. You want that change to be shooting
you to the top of the eligibility list and
hitting the fast track towards your law
enforcement career.

Step one in your preparation is to learn
as much as possible about the
Department and City. Start with the City
web site. Get a feel for the community,
news and events, happenings, and City
departments. Get a copy of the City
annual report. The annual report is chock
full of information to include the police
budget, crime statistics, calls for service,
arrests made etc. By reading a few pages
you can learn more about the police
department than most of its officers.

Next go to the police web site. The
easiest way to find the police web site is
to do a Google or Yahoo search by
entering the city name followed by "police
department". Scour the web site. Go into
every nook and cranny to unfold the
department's mission statement, the
police chief's vision, community policing
policy, crime analysis, criminal
investigations, patrol bureau, traffic
enforcement, dispatch center and traffic
safety program, to name a few.

Talk to department members. Pick their
brain. What's a typical day, swing, and
graveyard shift like. What types of calls
for service do they encounter most
frequently. Is the city mostly residential.
Are there many businesses, or a
combination of both. How many 'hot
spots' such as 7-11's, banks and schools
are there. What is the diversity of the
department? Knowing these things, even
some, will give you points of reference
when answering oral board questions.
Sergeant George Godoy (Ret.) is a 22
year police veteran.  During his police
career, Sergeant Godoy served for 5
years as a police recruitment specialist
where he personally tested over 1,000
potential police recruits.

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Copyright © 2021  Barry M. Baker  
Police Exam
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
There are Five
Indispensable Truths
for a Successful Police
Recommended reading for
those of you thinking
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