A civilian can go on a "ride a long" with a police cruiser or a fire truck but there is only one problem. If there is a emergency or an arrest being made they have to drop you off. You have to wait until there is another available cruiser or truck to pick you up.
I grew up desperately wanting to be a Cop because of the TV Show Adam 12.
I'm glad I didn't because of the TV show COPS.
Its tough work, at times dangerous, and depending on the department you are in, you sometimes have to work for or answer to some real a-holes be they captains, or politicians. I'm only saying that because I have family that were Cops, including my grandfather and my dad's cousin who was a Police Chief of the city I grew up in, so I've heard first hand the interdepartmental politics that would make a sane person look for another job. Anyway, I'm happy the way it turned out and I went down another path. For the little money they get (about half my salary) they have it tough.