This paper focuses on the events of a Friday evening in the winter of 2012 wherein I went on a police “ride-along” and accompanied a police officer as he went through the normal duties of his shift in a medium-sized city in the Pacific Northwest. During our time together, the officer arrested a 16-year old boy, and had him admitted to the local juvenile detention center. The officer also arrested an adult male who, during the process of being arrested, injured the officer such that the officer required medical attention. Additionally, I witnessed another officer performing an analysis of a suspected illegal substance. Drawing from critical autoethnographic methods, this paper details the events of the evening from my first-person perspective and is threaded with analyses of various facets of my privilege that emerged. The nagging questions that grew from these recognitions of unearned privilege are posed both to myself (as author) and also to readers, with the invitation to ponder the issues with me.


Autoethnography, Privilege, Police, Ride-Along

Author Bio(s)

Anita L. Bright, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Anita Bright at, PO Box 751, 615 SW Harrison, Portland OR 97207; Email: abright@pdx.edu

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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