As I showed up to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Camp Verde substation to begin my ride-along with Deputy Ashley Campbell, I didn’t know what to expect. I had no expectations for the day with the only intention of learning what it was like to be a sheriff’s deputy.
Little did I know, I was in for one of the most educational ride-alongs I have experienced to this day. I have to say, Campbell didn’t just provide an interesting ride-along; she also provided a very educational experience. She broke down everything she was doing into specific detail and the reasoning behind certain situations.'
As soon as I arrived, there was a 911 hang-up call and we were on our way to our first assignment for the morning to investigate this mysterious call. On the way there, Campbell explained that if the worst were to happen with any call today that I was to duck in the passenger floorboard or get in the back seat if there was a firefight.
We arrived at the scene with two other deputies and I was told to wait in the car. I was expecting to spend most of the ridealong there, when Campbell said I could get out and just wait behind a vehicle. I was still somewhat out of sight of the person who may have made the call. I watched as all the deputies checked out the scene, with Campbell deciding to go into the backyard for a closer look that ended up with the house dog coming out and startling her.
Hunter Mercier/Larson Newspapers
After thoroughly investigating the scene, it was decided that no one was home and we should move along to more calls and traffic stops. As we left the scene, Campbell went into detail about why it is so important to her that they follow up on calls like this and others to build a relationship with the locals. “In a way, I want to be a mentor to these communities because you never know when it will help you,” she said.
We followed up with a traffic stop by one of the other deputies before going to another assignment, just for backup.
“People may think, ‘Why do you have to have so many cars on one subject?’ but it’s for backup and to help the other deputy out with whatever is going on, even if it’s just a simple traffic stop,” Campbell said.
After the stop, we proceed to Rimrock to follow up on a complaint about a person camping on private property that involved us hiking a little way. We waited for backup just to be safe in case something happened. As we started walking toward the spot, a deputy told me where his guns were located in case something happened and I needed to protect myself, remembering a previous situation at this location.
A little nervous and on edge, I said “OK” and proceeded forward with them, curious about what would happen. We arrived at the campsite to find no one was there and a pile of clothes and bags on the ground.
After thoroughly searching, the deputies were satisfied with the progress the person had been making with moving their belongings from the private property and we left the scene to begin what I like to call the “golf ball mystery.” We headed to a house where golf balls were landing in a person’s yard.
The resident was tired of the situation because last time, the balls had damaged their vehicle. Campbell spoke with the owner of the house and decided it was time for some community patrolling.
“It’s the little things like this people come to really appreciate,” she said. “They want to see us out here doing our job and a simple follow up can really help build a good relationship.”
We walked around the neighborhood and she knocked on doors to ask the residents if they have had golf balls in their yard. Most the time the answer was yes, and the search continued. Finally, after about an hour, it was time for lunch.
“This is one of those things that may never get solved, but at least I tried,” Campbell said.
We continued the day with more calls, follow ups, assisting other deputies and checking plates until after dusk.