Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S02-05-01
Ride-Along Program
Issue Date:30 May 2014Effective Date:30 May 2014
Rescinds:11 December 1999 Version
Index Category:Human Rights and Community Partnerships
This directive:
  • A.continues the Departments Ride-Along Program.
  • B.informs Department members of the United States Supreme Court decision as it relates to the Fourth Amendment.
  • C.revises procedures to request a ride-along.
  • D.assigns responsibilities regarding the ride-along.
II.The Program
The Ride-Along Program facilitates the Departments partnership with the community by affording individuals the opportunity to personally observe patrol operations. This program is primarily designed for district law enforcement operations. Requests for a ride-along in units other than district law enforcement will also be considered. The program will allow community residents, government leaders and officials, members of professional organizations, educators, members of other law enforcement agencies, and persons conducting research deemed appropriate by the Department to be considered for approval to participate in the Ride-Along Program.
III.Department Policy
The Department will permit participation in the Ride-Along Program only to the extent that the objectives, effectiveness, and efficiency of Department operations are not compromised. Participants in the Ride-Along Program must be at least eighteen years of age and, with the exception of City employees in the performance of their official duties, sign a waiver of liability.
IV.General Information
  • A.The United States Supreme Court in Wilson, et al. v. Layne, et al., ruled that it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment for police to bring members of the media or other third parties into a home during the execution of a warrant when the presence of the third parties in the home is not in aid of the execution of the warrant.
  • B.Failure to follow this ruling could result in liability to the City and to the individual sworn members under 42 U.S.C.A. 1983.
  • A.Area deputy chiefs will approve a request to participate in a ride-along within their specific areas.
  • B.The Commanding Officer, Special Activities Section, will receive and review for approval, requests to participate in a ride-along, with the exception of requests approved by an area deputy chief as outlined in Item V-A and/or requests from the news media.
  • C.The Director, News Affairs will receive for review / approval all requests from the news media to participate in a ride-along.
  • D.The commanders of other units who receive requests for a ride-along in district law enforcement and/or requests for a ride-along in units other than district law enforcement, will refer those requests to the Commanding Officer, Special Activities Section. This commander will consult with the commander of the unit in which the ride-along is requested to determine whether or not the request is appropriate prior to granting approval.
Department command personnel who provide approval for a ride-along will ensure that:
  • A.a name/warrant check is conducted of individuals who have otherwise satisfied the criteria for participation in a ride-along.
  • Approval For Ride-Along form (CPD-11.425) is completed for each approved ride-along request.
  • C.Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC) is informed of the unit, date and time of the approved ride-along.
  • D.the signed approval form is retained in the district / unit file for a period of one year.
    The Commanding Officer, Special Activities Section and the Director, News Affairs must also verify the availability of the designated date and/or time scheduled for the ride-along and complete and forward the approval form via police mail to the commanding officer of the unit in which the ride-along will take place.
  • E.the person participating in the ride-along understands that he is strictly a passive observer and that he must not take an active part in any police operation, nor enter any home while participating in the ride-along program.
  • F.the participant is assigned to ride-along with an officer who is a positive representative of the Department.
  • G.both the officer and the ride-along participant understand that the goals and duties of the Department are foremost. Therefore, any activity contrary to Department policy and objectives will result in immediate cancellation of the ride-along.
  • H.the ride-along not be allowed until:
  • I.non-departmental electronic equipment, e.g., cameras and tape recorders, are prohibited in police vehicles without the written permission of the Superintendent of Police.
Authenticated by: JKH
Gerry F. McCarthy
Superintendent of Police
14-048 CMW