Yesterday I rode along with the Austin Police Department’s Downtown Patrol, the G200s. Because it had taken effort to prove to APD that I had no criminal record, I was especially grateful for the opportunity to spend the day with the city’s patrol officers.
As a citizen and a suspense novelist, I found the day enlightening — and reassuring. The officers I met were dedicated and professional, and awfully nice about sharing their time and knowledge with a crime writer.
You’ll discover what I learned when reading my future novels. In the meantime, I’ll tell you that during the ride along, I was mistaken for both a cop and an arrestee. While following the uniformed officer along a sidewalk to a reported disturbance, I was intensely scrutinized by a man who said, “Why are you in plain clothes?”
At another point, we pulled into police headquarters with two handcuffed people in the back of the patrol car. The officer I was with asked a colleague: “Could you watch one of my arrestees while I take the other one inside?”
The second officer agreed. But he approached the car looking perplexed. He had questions. “How come your arrestee’s in the front seat? And she isn’t handcuffed? And she looks like a mom?”
Good to know I have that effect on people.