On a steamy summer evening this past July, I got to cross “Go for a Ride Along with the Gulf Coast Sheriff’s Office” off of my bucket list. If you’ve never done this, I highly encourage it. But it’s not for the weary or fearful. These sheriffs are tough!
I met Officer Grimes at the local donut shop. We picked up two large coffees to keep us perked up for our evening pursuits. I signed a really long and detailed waiver, releasing the Gulf Coast Sheriff’s Office from any lawsuits, liability, responsibility, etc. for any injuries I may incur while riding along with Officer Grimes that evening. Then we packed up and hit the patrol car.
As soon as we pulled out of the donut shop, Officer Grimes got a call about a suspicious vehicle in the lot of a nearby grocery store.
“Okay, we’re looking for a blue sedan. Dark blue. With one individual. Might be looking to rob people or something. Just not really there for grocery shopping business,” she said as we took off.
“No siren?” I asked, disappointed.
“Not yet,” she grinned at me.
We pulled up at a normal rate of speed to the Mighty Lion grocery store. The parking lot was well lit. We didn’t see any blue sedans. Just a bunch of regular grocery store customers out getting groceries on a weeknight in July. We drove around for a bit. Nothing.
Officer Grimes called in her location and advised whoever was on the other end that nothing much was happening. We waited for a few more minutes. Drank our coffee. Waited a bit more. Still no blue sedan.
After it became readily apparent that nothing was going to happen, we moved on to traffic enforcement.
“Now do we get to use lights and the siren?” I asked.
“Sorry,” smiled Officer Grimes.
We drove through town for two hours while Office Grimes called in license plates and registration numbers. I was getting bummed out and becoming convinced that I wasn’t going to see anything exciting and I had wasted a perfectly good summer evening when all of a sudden, a blue sedan sped by us.
Officer Grimes threw on her sirens and lights and chased after the blue sedan. The car ran two red lights and swerved through empty residential streets, even though there was no other traffic on the roads. My heart raced as I clung to the edges of the passenger seat. This whole time, Officer Grimes was the picture of calm, communicating with someone on the other end of her radio, giving the names of streets we are whizzing by. Finally, the car pulls over and stops. A skinny little teenager holds his hands up in the air. He is crying. Officer Grimes commands him down to the ground, where she cuffs his hands behind his back in one swift motion. Seriously, she is so cool. She doesn’t even break a sweat.
Backup arrives and the boy is led away by the other officer. Officer Grimes does paperwork in the car for almost an hour, pausing here and there to answer questions and give information to the other officers. Turns out the driver of the blue sedan was a twelve year-old boy who took his grandmother’s car joyriding. Lucky for him, his grandmother didn’t want to press charges, so he just ended up with a stack of traffic tickets.
Overall, it was an exciting night with the Gulf Coast Sheriff’s Office. Cheers to Officer Grimes for making it so memorable.