Police Unity Tour: Ride Along with Roanoke County PD

ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) -- It's National Police Week. WDBJ7 saw firsthand what it’s like to protect and serve.

It's National Police Week. WDBJ7 saw firsthand what it’s like to protect and serve.

We went on a ride along with a Roanoke County Officer Ryan Tangney.

He starts his shift at 7 a.m. with a very special partner, Remi. She’s 2 years old, and she’s trained in explosives.

“We’re hoping to get her moving towards doing searches, passive searches for people, be it an elderly subject or somebody who may have a disability. We have the project life saver program in the police department so they would be a good candidate for her to search for if they were to go missing. Anybody that’s nonviolent,” Tangney said.

And together, they respond to calls.

“You have to have extra precaution for not only your safety and the safety of others around you, but also your partner, being the dog, making sure their environment’s safe as well.”

WDBJ7 was able ride along for a shift covering south Roanoke County.

“Typical day for us … if it’s during the week we’ll have line up, so we’ll go up to the office and we’ll hear any events that could be reoccurring from previous shifts, places that we need to keep, like a building check if someone’s out of town or they’re requesting extra patrol we’ll get that information as well as radar assignments that could be required for that day. And then we’ll go to our assigned districts.”

And it’s always different; some days are busy, while others are a little slower.

“ It’s really hit or miss because obviously we can’t predict what’s going to happen throughout the day and who’s going to need the assistance of the police department or officers in the area.”

The day of the ride along it was a little slower, but there were calls to respond to, like a minor car crash, and serving a warrant.

But there’s a lot more to the job than maybe meets the eye.

“Just having to make the split second decisions and always being on your toes thinking and reacting quickly. It’s very fluid, and situations can rapidly evolve without any signs and you have to be just ready to respond appropriately to each situation.”

Their job is to protect and serve the community, something he says isn’t lost on many residents.

“The citizens of Roanoke County back the police department and back their pro police for the most part and that helps us out tremendously in dealing with the public.”

You can sign up for a ride along, too. Officers encourage anyone who’d like to see what their job is like to do so. They also encourage people to ask questions, and just stop to talk.