Riding Along and Walking the Beat with TABC

I have done ride alongs with my cousin at the Marshfield Police Department and also with the Thunder Bay Police, but in my 3 years of working with TABC, I have never done a ride along with any of our agents. After doing the Microsoft Surface deployment, I realized there were some gaps in IT, so I asked my boss to do a ride along so I could help uncover those gaps and improve our IT systems. He agreed so was I then able to get things arranged and then had a time scheduled to ride along.

Our agents are in a separate building across town, so when the time came, I drove over there. We did a little work in the office and then it was time to hit the road.

For safety purposes, the agents buddy up. I got in the back. This time sitting in the back of a squad car was a good thing.

Now, TABC enforces the alcohol laws of Texas. Basically the agents do not do active enforcement like patrolling the streets and pulling people over. They are more investigative. For the night I rode along, we’d be conducting inspections of bars that had violations or were on the list to have things checked over.

We started the night by grabbing something to eat at Mighty Fine Burgers. Typically the agents work more of a night shift sort of job, since that’s the time when things are going on. I had ate before I got to the office, so I just got a Mexican Coke to get a little more caffeine in me since we’d be out until midnight or later.

So pretty much the routine was we’d go off the list and then go into the bars to do an inspection or talk to the managers about some sort of incident. I was able to go into the bars with the agents and I stood back a ways and observed. I took notes and made sure to stay out of the way.

Some places it was a matter of taking only a couple minutes to walk in, look for any violations or other issues, and then be on our way to the next establishment. Other places it was a matter of talking to the manager about a given incident and sometimes that took a while. Typically one agent would do the inspection and/or talking to the manager while the other would stand as cover\backup in case something went wrong. Thankfully, it was very uneventful and things went smoothly where backup was not needed.

Eventually, we made our way to 6th Street. They have it blocked off on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

I see an Austin cop who was doing active enforcement was having to deal with someone.

One thing I know is I got a ton of exercise. We basically bar hopped to several different bars on 6th street and there was a decent amount of walking between them. It was definitely very cool seeing the bars from a completely different angle. I learned a ton and the agents I rode along with were fun to work with. We talked about different elements of their jobs and also how they thought they might be able to do things more efficiently with technology. I know I had a decent-sized writeup for my boss.

All-in-all, it was definitely a really cool and interesting experience doing this ride along. It put a lot more things into perspective from a law enforcement angle and uncovered things I did not know our agency did or how they did them. Getting experience doing law enforcement IT is definitely something that is unique compared to what most IT guys do. I’m also glad I can be a part of helping the people who keep us safe, more efficient at doing just that.

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