Contributing Writers: Kathleen K. Regalado, Melianty Yularnis, Brian Timana, Evelyn Orellana, Ms. Theresa Coates Ellis | Images: CCN-
CCN Manassas, Osbourn High School’s Media Team, and their sponsor, Theresa Coates Ellis recently requested a ride-along with the Manassas City Police to live through the thrilling behind-the-scenes happenings within the metal frames of a cop car. CCN members included Melianty Yularnis, Brian Timana and Kathleen Regalado along with student, Evelyn Orellana and Ms. Ellis, embarked on the exciting ride-alongs and documented their experience.
Melianty Yularnis and Brian Timana: Thursday Morning Shift from 8:00 am-10:30 am.
Melianty: It was early morning we were ready to see the perspective of police officers as excitement bubbled inside of us. We got to see the inside of an officer’s car and learned all of the types of gadgets they had in there that aided them on the job. Officer Hibbs, one of the officers that worked in the morning, shared her experience on working as an officer. She has many years of experience on the force and shared some advice.
Hibbs said, “Try new things because you never know if you will like it or not.”
We learned how to monitor the traffic speed with the radars and see the officers in action cracking down on people going over the speed limit. Don’t speed! Be safe! This experience was a fun one and I am glad to have given it a go.
Brian: On the 25th of August I got the pleasure of going on a ride along with Officer Outland, during the ride along the officer was very informative. Informing me on special training needed to become a certified officer in Virginia from being able to tell people’s attitude and intentions from their stances and facial expressions to having vision tested to be able to approximate car’s speed being a legitimate source to issuing tickets. While his very eye’s were certified to do so the main equipment used being a radar equipped with lasers using distance displacement and time to calculate speed accurately. This radar being used as evidence in court the Officer talked about needing to test the radar before every shift for inaccuracies, such as improper readings, aim & battery life.
Ms. Theresa Coates Ellis: Monday Afternoon Shift from 2:00 pm -5:00 pm.
Officer Sharp is a genuine, hard-working police officer who gave me a tour of the areas of the city that he serves. He is a Jersey guy that moved to Virginia to be near family. I was impressed with his commitment to his family and our City of Manassas.
Our shift was during the first day of school and included some interesting incidents. We drove through the area behind Tom’s Diner on Centreville Road. Large mature trees dotted the community with rough roads. Sharp was looking for someone in the area, but they were not at their home. It was a quiet visit until a call came in to follow-up on a recent home fire in the a neighborhood near Point of Woods.
The nice woman and her son provided a summary of suspicious activity: vandalism with spray paint, a fire by the back door and destruction of a mailbox. Her van had been spray painted a few days ago and had been repaired. The fire had caused more than $50,000 in damage and happened in the middle of the night while a toddler was sleeping in the house. The family had to move out of the house after the fire and were waiting for repairs. There was a discussion about the unknown cause of the fire and insurance liability.
We investigated the mailbox. Sharp and the family checked the mailbox to find a point of impact. Possible car or object causing the destruction?
The family was concerned about the series of events to their home, van and mailbox. Sharp was calming and patient with the family. He asked my opinion and I gave him my ideas about the incidents.
After we left the call, Sharp had to update his computer with the data from our visit.
Next we parked at a busy intersection in Point of Woods to watch for traffic violations. Children were being released from school and buses were driving on the streets. No violations were reported.
Sharp was notified that there was a person on the overpass near Wellington Road threatening to jump. We increased our speed as Officer T. J. Rodriquez followed us to the scene. Thankfully, the person on the overpass was not in danger anymore and was talking to another officer when we arrived.
We drove back to the station and I said thank you to Sharp for spending hours teaching me about his career as a police officer. We are in good hands, City of Manassas citizens!
Kathleen Regalado and Evelyn Orellana: Friday Night Shift from 8:00 pm – 2:00 am.
Kathleen: After waiting anxiously in the Manassas City Police Department building, I was greeted by Officer Armas. I remember he pulled up in his police car; it was hard to contain my excitement through my wide smile. As soon as I stepped into the car, Officer Armas let me use the in-car laptop and interact with a current report we were given: a break-in robbery involving two vehicles. We arrived at the scene and it was eye-opening to see the faces of the families involved. After an interview, I assisted with a fingerprint test.
Riding with the MCPD will forever be an unforgettable experience that has made a positive impact on my opinion of our city’s state of safety and security as well as the police force in general. As we drove down the streets of the City of Manassas, I saw the town in a completely different perspective. Officer Armas gave me a unique driving tour. He detailed the history of some neighborhood crime as well as the remarkable stories he and his fellow officers have lived through. I appreciated our police officers knowing how much crime has been stopped in our city adding protection to how safe I feel in Manassas.
Evelyn: I really enjoyed seeing what goes on behind the scenes of a routine traffic stop or a hit and run chase. What I loved most about this great experience was the amount of action there was in such a small time span. There was never a dull moment, which was surprising considering how small of a town Manassas is. If I had the chance to do a ride along again I would sign up in a heart beat.
Thank you Chief Doug Keen and the Officers for the opportunity to learn about these brave men and women who serve our City of Manassas.