Video: A day in the life of a Sheriff’s Deputy on patrol
The Carson City Sheriff’s deputies are no strangers to the community; their black and white cars can often be seen driving down Carson Street, their forest green uniforms at schools, businesses and residences alike. But how much does the ordinary citizen really know about the job of a Sheriff’s Deputy?
My guess would be most people don’t really know what a deputy with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office patrol division does on a daily basis, so I took to the streets to find out.
These are the men and women out on the streets who handle all of the calls for service, from child custody disputes all the way to robberies, murders and suicides. They answer every call that comes through 911; they’re the front lines for the community.
There are 36 deputies assigned to the patrol division, who work four days a week, 10 hours a day on day shift, swing shift or graveyard. Each shift has an assigned sergeant who oversees the deputies; making sure they’re conducting investigations correctly, answering complaints and compliments, overseeing the deputies and responding to calls as well.
The patrol division has a number of branches that encompass it as well. Within patrol, there’s also the K9 division, Motors Unit, SWAT, Special Enforcement Team and Field Officer Training. Many deputies pull double duty, participating in special assignments along with their patrol duties.
Each shift always starts the same: the deputies meet at the Sheriff’s Office for briefing where the sergeant on duty notifies them of what happened in previous shifts, new policies or notifications and what to look for on the streets.
From briefing it’s anyone’s game. There have been times when we have left briefing and just roamed the streets waiting for a call and there have been times when we have run out of the building to respond to a stabbing. That’s just how it goes.
Some days it’s all traffic stops, accidents and warrant services broken up by a domestic dispute. Some days are slow and some days 10 hours feels like 10 minutes. But I can assure you it’s never boring.
Though, some people couldn’t even imagine what they see in the streets.
It’s an exciting job to say the least. There’s a type of euphoria that envelops you when you’re going Code 3 to a call with sirens blaring, the speedometer accelerating. It’s that excitement of going into battle, knowing your presence could make a significant difference in someone’s life at that moment. It makes you practically want to bounce in your seat. Getting to see up close what these officers do, it’s like being invited to witness a secret society.
Being on the streets is a combination of equal parts adrenaline and terror in my opinion, simply because you just don’t know how a call is going to end. Something as simple as a traffic stop could result in a chase, a down officer or just a warning, but no one has a crystal ball. You just never know how someone is going to react to having a uniform show up at a scene or pull over your vehicle.
One incident I will probably remember forever: it was last May, one of my first ride alongs, and we responded to a domestic incident at a mobile home park around 8 p.m. The woman had allegedly been battered by her adult son after she found out he had been stealing her Social Security checks, and this wasn’t the first time. He had left the residence by the time we arrived, so before we met with the victim we tried to locate him in the surrounding area. I will always remember her telling me “Be warned, this is a bad dude and if we find him, he will try to fight and it could get ugly.”
We didn’t find him, so we went with our backup to talk with the victim who was bruised, bloodied and crying uncontrollably. As we sat in her home, we were on high alert waiting for her son to come back through the front door and confront his mother. For me, this was a whole new playing field. We listened and we waited.
I didn’t realize how intense the situation was until a cuckoo clock on the wall loudly announced the start of the hour, and we all jumped three feet in the air. It was then I realized how tense, how dangerous the situation was.
But this is what these officers do, they put their lives on the line making sure others are safe. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve been on incidents where someone will start to get rowdy and they have stood in front of me so if something happens, they’re the ones in the line of fire, not me. I think the most noteworthy thing about that is they don’t announce it, they don’t make a big deal of it, they just make sure I’m always safe with them. That’s just how these patrol deputies are.
I don’t know if the public will ever understand what it feels like to go to work and be hated, to be targeted just for what you do. To spend hours being yelled at, cursed at, seeing awful things and still be expected to smile and brush it off with every new interaction isn’t an easy task, but they’re expected to do it.
It’s hard to watch them do it. I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes and having to do it every day.
I hope people understand the deputies with Carson City Sheriff’s Office aren’t scary, they aren’t out to get you and they aren’t mean people. In Carson City, I do think a majority of the residents do see that with the officers they encounter on the streets, and I’m glad they do.
I would recommend everyone ride with a deputy just once, because you will begin to understand what they do and why. Most people only interact with the deputies for a few minutes at a time, an hour at most, and sometimes it isn’t always the most positive experience. But just ride with them and you will see that isn’t their intention, they aren’t going into the interaction to be a jerk. They just want to do their job and get home safe to their family, just like everyone else.