Last week, I rode along with U-S Marshals, Tulsa police and other agencies who were given the job of arresting 600 criminals in Green Country.
I've done this type of warrants sweep several times in the past, but, it's always an eye opener. It's always a vivid reminder of just how dangerous police work is.
I realize an officer could get hurt or killed during any part of the job, like a traffic stop or a domestic call. But, you really feel the danger and the electricity when you're standing just a few feet away from officers who are knocking on the door at six in the morning to arrest a person wanted for armed robbery, child molestation, or other terrible crimes.
It's an adrenalin rush and a fear that's hard to explain. You just never know if the person is going to open the door and go meekly, start shooting from a window, make a run for it out the back or even come out fighting. You can feel the tenseness of the officers as they prepare for that unknown they're about to face.
They may be joking or talking about their families only moments before, but, when they knock, they are instantly in law enforcement mode, their senses razor sharp, their eyes alert. They are there, willingly; protect us from those who do evil and to handle whatever situation arises, no matter what.
While we were riding along, a girlfriend lied to them and said the suspect wasn't home (they found him hiding in a closet, a gun nearby), they had a suspect refuse to follow their simple commands of showing his hands and coming to the door (they had to put him to the ground by force), they were treated like scum by some family and friends. So many of the toughest parts of their job are rarely seen by the rest of us.
However, I was also glad to see there were citizens who showed their appreciation, offering a pat on the back or giving an encouraging word, when officers stopped at a convenience store to get a soda and candy bar that would serve as their lunch.
Tulsa has a citizen ride-along program where each of us can ride along once a year. I highly recommend it. I think everyone should see what that job truly entails. Even though I've done it hundreds of times, each time, I walk away, thanking those who are willing to risk it all to keep me and mine safe.