Yesterday, I joined officer Rudy Lopez in a ride along in my hometown, Watsonville.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. First of all, I had never done a ride along with a cop and second of all, a lot of dangerous things have been occurring in Watsonville lately. I didn’t know what level of danger I’d be involved in.
I had shadowed a reporter before numerous times in the city of Oakland, a city known for its utmost danger. I have reported crime , I’ve seen tears, blood, and danger. So I thought, danger in Watsonville? I don’t think so…. Well let me tell you, I was in for quite a surprisingly ride.
I met up with officer Lopez at 9am. The morning started off slowly… But it surely sped up. I experienced what it was to sit in a cop car. I sat along Rudy’s side while he took calls I didn’t even know existed in Watsonville. I know, close-minded of me right! We went to a domestic dispute, where luckily no one was badly injured. We assisted an elderly woman who suffered from possibly, drug addiction? We escorted a man back to the Watsonville Police Department who because of drug abuse was causing public disturbance. Gang violence, drug abuse, and shoplifting…
After living in Watsonville for 11 years there are places in this town I had never gone to until yesterday. Neighborhoods I was unaware of, living conditions people in this small town are living within that I was UNAWARE OF. At the age of 22 I came back to Watsonville after living in San Francisco for four & ½ years. I lived in a big city and most importantly I worked with Univision covering crime stories in the Bay Area. I was exposed to a lot and moving away opened up my eyes to a more real, harsh world. MY POINT? Coming back to Watsonville and having to hear of shootings at public places taking place mid-day, Target, Big 5? Homicides, stabbings… It was shocking to hear.
One of the questions I asked officer Lopez was, “do you think violence has gotten worse from when you started working as a police officer” which is 3 years ago. He said “no”. Sigh of relief? Kind of. He also said “Crime in Watsonville is mainly involved with gangs, drugs…not like any ordinary person is committing harsh crime in Watsonville”.
I, as a journalist contribute to the exposure the media is setting on the public. I am aware of this. It is not only my job to do but it is something I enjoy doing. However, as a journalist I will say, YOU as a common reader have to remind yourself sometimes that we are only doing our job. We are informing the public of what is interesting, what will call a reader’s attention and that is CRIME, sometimes. So, after my ride along with Rudy I came to a few conclusions.
I am from a small town but even this small town does have crime occurring every single day, and it is thanks to great officers like Rudy and others I came across yesterday that we are able to maintain it under control. Also, this town does have crime and so does EVERY single town in the world. That’s reality!
So to conclude my blog, I will finish off by thanking Rudy for taking me along for a great experience. I have always had a strong interest in crime, I once wanted to be a cop believe it or not. This ride along reassured me that I have chosen the perfect career path for myself. As a journalist I want to be involved in REALITY. I want to know what is REALLY going on and I want to be the one to inform other’s first of the truth. For this reason I have chosen NEWS as my ultimate goal. So, all I have to say is STAY TUNED!