Eager binocular-toting ride-along participant helps find suspect

Signal File Photo.

A 20-year-old man enrolled in the Explorers program and pursuing a career in law enforcement spotted a suspect hiding in the brush Thursday, thanks to the binoculars he brought with him on the ride-along.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, California Highway Patrol officers began searching for a suspect who allegedly ran from a traffic collision near the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 at Templin Highway.

“In this crash, the individual at fault ran from the car and ran into the hills,” CHP Officer Josh Greengard said.

CHP officers dispatched to the call included a group of young Explorers participating in a ride-along, he said.

“One of them was a young man who brought binoculars with him,” Greengard said.

As Explorers, the ride-along participants were instructed not to touch the radio or interfere with the operation. That didn’t rule out assistance, however, a one participant pulled out binoculars he brought and eagerly began scanning the terrain near the crash.

A ride-along is an arrangement allowing a civilian to spend a shift in an emergency vehicle, to experience the typical work day of a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic.

“He was using his binoculars and then, all of sudden, he spots the guy hunkered down in some brush,” Greengard said. A 90-minute search by officers scouring the rough terrain ended with the young Explorers discovery.

At 7:40 p.m., CHP officers directed to the suspect’s hideout moved in and made the arrest.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of hit and run, and driving under the influence of alcohol, misdemeanors.

Participants in the Explorers program are young men and women between the ages of 15 and 21.

Through ride-alongs and first-hand experience in the field, the program exposes them to the skills and knowledge needed to serve the people of California.

The Explorers assist the CHP both in the office and out in the field — including the chance to join CHP officers conducting DUI checkpoints, according to the information posted on the CHP’s website.

The experience they obtain in the process is expected to be “directly applicable to a future in law enforcement.” Explorers undergo physical training and are given medical training, organizational and clerical training.

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