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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Original Author: Barton, Rex
Date of Material: 03/25/2002

Police--Community relations
Police--Public information

Civilian Ride-Along Programs

Reviewed Date: 07/02/2021
A civilian should meet certain eligibility requirements to participate in a municipal police department's ride-along program.



The Police Department, in an effort to familiarize citizens with the complexities of law enforcement and develop a spirit of cooperation with its citizens, will allow citizens to ride with its police department under certain conditions.


The civilian will be an observer only.

A. The civilian must remain in the vehicle during any police call or police stop.

B. The participant must have no more than minimal contact with the public.


A. A complete background check should be conducted on each applicant, and this must be documented and retained on file.

B. Each participant must be at least 21 years of age (Exemptions apply for BSA Explorer Post members and criminal justice interns authorized to ride by the Chief of Police.)

C. Each participant must provide proof of health, medical, and life insurance coverage for any injuries they might receive while participating in the "Ride-Along" program.

D. Each participant shall be required to wear seatbelts at all times while in the police unit.

E. No participant will be allowed to carry any weapon.

D. Each participant must complete and sign the department's waiver of liability/hold-harmless agreement.


In critical emergencies, officers with citizen passengers will respond to the scene, park the vehicle, and:

A. Insist the rider remain in the vehicle.

B. Notify a supervisor or other officer, so the rider can be removed from the vicinity of the call.

C. Under no circumstances will officers accompanied by citizens engage in pursuits or respond to any call at a speed greater than the posted speed limit.


"Ride-Along" Programs sponsored by national organizations which provide personal liability and medical insurance coverage for its members (for example, the BSA Law Enforcement Explorer Post program) may be exempt from the minimum age requirement.

In intern programs provided through a local college or university curriculum, those students working in the criminal justice curriculum may participate when at least 18 years of age.


For any program that allows a "Ride-Along" participant to be less than 18 years of age, the written permission of both parents, or legal guardian(s) shall be obtained, and the waiver of liability/hold-harmless agreement shall be signed by both parents, or the legal guardian(s).

Release and Waiver of Liability

In consideration of being allowed to participate in the police ride-along program by the
City of , I assume all risk of personal injury or death and property damage or loss from whatever causes arising while I am participating in the program. This includes injuries, death, or damage arising while I am on the property of the municipality in preparation for or anticipation of my participation in the ride-along program and causes arising while I am approaching, entering, riding in, disembarking from, leaving, or being about any police vehicle of the municipality. I release the municipality, its officers, employees, agents, and servants from such liability therefor, and will indemnify and save harmless the city, its officers, employees agents, and servants from any liability.
As further consideration for being allowed to participate in the ride-along program, I will indemnify and save the city, its officers, employees, agents, and servants harmless for personal injury or death and property damages or loss to others for which my actions were a proximate cause while I am participating in the program. I knowingly assume all responsibility and liability for my own actions while I am participating in the ride-along program.