Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 25, 2021

Chattanooga Police Department begins offering virtual ride alongs

The Chattanooga Police Department has launched a virtual ride along program in the hopes of increasing its connections to the community and becoming more inclusive.

The CPD Virtual Ride Along program is a creation of Sydney Hamon, an officer with the department since 2019. Hamon came up with the idea for the program during her rookie year after noticing social media friends were spending a lot of time talking at each other but not listening to one another.

“I believe the way to create change is to stop talking, start listening and keep an open mind,” Hamon says.

The Virtual Ride Along program allows community members to connect to Google Hangouts and then spend up to an hour with a CPD officer at the beginning of his or her shift.

The person riding along can ask questions, share concerns about crime or crime prevention in their neighborhood and learn more about police policies and practices.

“Virtual conversations are a new way for CPD officers and community members to build relationships,” says CPD Chief David Roddy. “I’m proud of the work Officer Hamon put into creating this innovative program, which is more inclusive for those who are unable to participate in CPD’s existing program.”

The CPD designed its Virtual Ride Along program to accommodate community members who might not be able to participate in a traditional ride along due to an impairment, for example, and to offer an alternative for people who are concerned they might experience anxiety during an emergency.

The CPD’s Virtual Ride Along program is also a time-saving option for people who are unable to take part in a longer ride along and allow someone who might not pass the background check needed for the in-car ride along to participate in a ride along.

Participants must have a Google email address to register for a Virtual Ride Along.

To inquire about participating in a virtual ride along with the CPD, email cpdrecruiting@chattanooga.gov.

Virtual Ride Along conversations are recorded and stored on Evidence.com servers for up to 90 days.

Source: CPD