This may come as a surprise to some--it has thus far--but any civilian can sign up to ride along with a Seattle police officer for a four hour period. All you have to do is go into a Seattle Police Precinct--I chose East--and fill out a small form, provide a piece of I.D., and pass a background check. If you can do all that, you're in!
However, I am afraid that I can't share much information on the things to which I beared witness; this is for the legal protection of myself, the officers involved, the suspects, the victims, the bystanders, etc. What I can tell you is that my ride was focused only in the Central District--they call it George sector (see the dark purple sections on the left). And let's just say that the following things may or may not have happened: a belligerent drunk threatened to harm hospital staff and needed to be restrained; a crack house standoff ensued (see also the CDN); some crackheads were having sex in an open garage stairwell. Like I said, I can neither affirm nor deny that those things happened.
For me to say that the experience was 'fun' would only weaken the actual reality of it all; that is, it was depressing. I have nothing but the highest respect for the Seattle Police Officers that have to deal with this bullshit on a daily basis. This is a job in which I wouldn't make it through a first full day's work. These men and women work hard, and I appreciate that they are willing to do it. I strongly suggest that you sign up and experience this as I have. It is both exhilarating and enlightening. And I would also suggest that you do it sooner rather than later, because I was informed that SPD is talking about ending the civilian ridealong program. As to why, I have only one response: YouTube.
If you want the dirtier details of the night, you will need to ask me in person.