The Civilian Observer Ride-A-Long Program was introduced to provide an opportunity for citizens to get a firsthand look at the services provided to the community by the Village of Elwood Police Department. Approved Observer’s will ride side-by-side with a Patrol Officer as they respond to daily calls for service such as crime reports, traffic stops, court service, and arrests.

This program not only enhances the relationship between Officers and Citizens, but also provides an opportunity to those who may be interested in a career in Law Enforcement by providing them an experience that may assist in their career decisions.

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • All ride-alongs shall be free of any recent major or habitual violations of the law, including drug usage or other activities or associations that would be considered contrary to law enforcement ethics or compromise law enforcement operations.   
  • All ride-alongs must be 18 years of age or older, unless a written petition for exception is approved by the Chief of Police or his designee.
  • All ride-alongs must be able to effectively communicate with officers, dispatch, and other law enforcement personnel to understand dispatch or officer instructions and to use the radio to summon assistance in an emergency situation.
  • Individuals with medical conditions that may manifest themselves or possibly be affected by a ride-along will be required to submit written consent from a medical doctor. This requirement is intended to ensure that all participants are able to adequately assist in emergency situations by performing needed functions, such as quickly exiting the vehicle, running, laying flat on the ground, and using the patrol vehicle radio without compromising the safety or law enforcement mission of the officer.

Ride-Along Procedure:

All applicants, including individuals personally known to the officer, shall fill out a Police Ride-Along Application and sign a waiver before a ride-along is initiated. If the rider is a juvenile, a parent or guardian must also sign the waiver.

No ride-alongs may carry a weapon (including knives, OC spray, etc.) unless he/she is a sworn law enforcement officer with jurisdiction within the State of Illinois. Such officers will not act as an agent of the Department and will have no law enforcement responsibilities during the ride-along, will dress in civilian clothes, and will carry the weapon concealed.

Ride-alongs may accompany officers only into areas open for public access, unless a person with standing grants consent.

Either the hosting officer or a supervisor may terminate the ride-along at any time if it detracts from or jeopardizes the safety of the officer or the law enforcement mission.

An officer will provide a safety briefing before the ride-along begins, including the following:

  • Must wear a seatbelt at all times while inside the vehicle
  • Must remain in the vehicle at all times, unless instructed by the hosting officer to do otherwise
  • Must follow all instructions given by the officer
  • Procedures in case of an emergency, to include use of radio to summon assistance

To apply for a ride-along, please complete the Ride-Along Application and Waiver forms, fill in the required information, sign and return to the Elwood Police Department. Please download form here, forms can be picked up/dropped off during business hours of 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, for further information please call 815-424-1090.