My regular blog readers will probably remember that I recently took part in a Citizen's Academy put on by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. There's a weekly class for six weeks and you get to hear deputies talk about the different roles of the Sheriff's Office. Thursday night I got the final part of my experience - a ride along with a Spokane Valley deputy.
I want to start by thanking Deputy Byron Zlateff for letting me follow him around for several hours. When we hit the road around 6 p.m. there were several calls waiting and we went dashing from one end of town to the other for several hours. I was asked to stay by the car if there was any concern for my safety, but I got to follow him for most calls. Of course, there was the “rollin' stolen,” as they call it, when I was left by the side of the road while Deputy Zlateff persued a stolen car into an apartment complex parking lot. It all ended well and I didn't have to stand out in the rain for long.
Perhaps my favorite call of the night was the man who was in the wrong place in the wrong time. Zlateff and another deputy were sent to an apartment complex on the west end of town for a person refusing to leave someone's apartment. They discovered a man walking down the street near the complex and talked to him to figure out if he was involved in the call. He was fidgety and evasive - for good reason. He was wanted on a warrant for violating his probabion. As it turns out, he had no involvement in the original call. He just had bad timing. He spent the entire ride to the Spokane County Jail proclaiming that he hadn't really done anything wrong.
You always hear about how police officers have excellent powers of observation and I saw that first hand. Zlateff was picking up on things in the dark and the rain that I didn't even notice until he pointed them out to me and I had thought I was paying attention. All in all, it was a great experience.