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Cunningham Observes Fort Worth Crime through Ride-In

US+art+teacher+Lauren+Cunningham+and+Fort+Worth+Police+Officer+Armendiaz+take+a+selfie+during+Cunningham%27s+ride-in+experience.+
US art teacher Lauren Cunningham and Fort Worth Police Officer Armendiaz take a selfie during Cunningham's ride-in experience.

US art teacher Lauren Cunningham and Fort Worth Police Officer Armendiaz take a selfie during Cunningham's ride-in experience.

Lauren Cunningham

Lauren Cunningham

US art teacher Lauren Cunningham and Fort Worth Police Officer Armendiaz take a selfie during Cunningham's ride-in experience.

Alexandra Galloway, Reporter

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Although the woman sitting in the passenger seat of the police cruiser had neither a badge nor a criminal record, she was there for a reason: her overwhelming curiosity.

US art teacher Lauren Cunningham discovered the opportunity to go on a ride-in with a police officer by pure happenstance. A telephone pole in her neighborhood caught fire. While Cunningham was asking a responding police-woman about the daily life of a law enforcement officer, the officer recommended that she go on a ride-in.

Excited by the prospect, Cunningham called her local police office and arranged a time: Thursday night on June 29, 2017 from 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.

The first few hours consisted of a rewardless chase and dead ends. Cunningham and Officer Armendiaz arrived to car-wreck scenes with cars gone and conflicts already resolved.

The radio crackled to life. Finally, a mystery to solve. A man, without fear in broad daylight, stole a woman’s lawn mower while she watched from her window.

Taking a report from the woman, they were interrupted by the radio with a sudden lead: a man with two lawn mowers in his truck at a nearby gas station.

All three, two civilians and one cop, jumped into the cruiser and sped to the gas station. The woman instantly recognized the man as the thief and reclaimed her lawnmower, leaving Cunningham and Officer Armendiaz to drive her home and then take the suspect into custody.

Driving to the police station downtown, the man slurred, trying to express himself but only emitting incoherent mumbles. “Probably drugged,” the officer said.

The man’s confusion quickly transformed into aggravation upon arriving at the police station.

“Do you have an emergency contact?” Officer Armendiaz said.

“I don’t have anyone,” the man said.

Mrs. Cunningham could not help but find that incredibly sad.

Yet, in a sense, he was not alone. Arriving in handcuffs, people flooded the station in a constant deluge. He was one among many.

Cunningham was struck by the disparity between FWCD and the world she experienced that night.

FWCD is a community. There is always someone to call. That reality is not a shared one.

 

 

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Cunningham Observes Fort Worth Crime through Ride-In