Ever wonder what the hell it is that cops do all day? If you come from a boring, quiet town like myself, you kind of chuckle a bit when someone brings up the subject of "Our City's Finest".
As it so happens, the police are more than happy to give you a tour of what a day in the life of a police officer is like in your city. All you need do is march down to your local police station and ask for a ride-along request form. As long as you meet the proper age (16 years, here), show I.D., and submit a parental release form if you're a minor, they'll happily schedule a ride.
You will have the pleasure of sitting with a cop in the front-seat with a cop as he/she goes about his/her duties. There's no better time to ask a cop all those nagging questions you had about law enforcement than when you're camping at an intersection, hoping to tag a speeding car. Most probably, you will -not- be able to accompany the officer to any potentially dangerous situations -- this encompasses just about every time the officer is talking to anyone besides another cop.
If you ever wanted to see proof that cops don't really want to have to pull you over, this is your chance. Ever notice how the cop takes bloody ages to talk to you whenever you're pulled over? In my city, there's about four forms that need to be filled out on the spot. And I'm not even sure how many need to be filled out later.
As my luck ran, I had a chance to ride-along with a cop who had the dubious honor of sending my girlfriend back to the living hell that her incredibly abusive parents called a home since technically she was a run-away. This was somewhat awkward at first, but it gave me a chance to cement my suspicion that cops don't have any leeway in these sorts of things.
Head down to the station if you're interested. It's probably free.