Phoenix police ride-along: ABC15 gets inside look at police shift with Officer Shawn Magness

PHOENIX - We see them every day in our community, but do you really know what it's like to be a police officer?

ABC15 rode along with a Phoenix officer in Maryvale earlier this month to give you an inside look at their unique job.

Our Friday night shift started at the Maryvale Precinct near 59th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard at 1:30 p.m.

We met Officer Shawn Magness in the lobby of the precinct to attend the day's briefing; we were joined by 10 other officers and one sergeant assigned to the same 10-hour shift.

Sgt. Brad Huskisson briefed his crew on situations they should be aware of in the neighborhood. Huskisson also asked if anyone had any questions or concerns before they were released to begin their day.

See photos from the meeting and the entire ride-along on

After the meeting, Magness grabbed items from his personal vehicle to put in his squad car.

One of the things he moved over was a bag filled with teddy bears.

The fire department has stickers to give to children they see, but police don't have anything, Magness said.

Magness got the teddy bears from Savers to give to children he sees on calls. He told ABC15 he has even thought about doing a teddy bear drive to get more stuffed animals for officers for their cars.

After jumping in the patrol car, the first thing to do is fill the vehicle with gas. Each police station has its own gas station, and all vehicles are required to have a full tank before hitting the streets.

At 2:20 p.m. it was time to hit the road.

Magness reminded us that being a police officer can be a very dangerous and unpredictable job. That's one of the reasons why even we were asked to wear a bullet proof vest over our clothes during the shift.

As an added precaution,  he also showed us how to call for help over the radio if any emergency situation arose.

The area Magness' squad covers is from Interstate 10 to Camelback Road and from 47th Avenue to 67th Avenue.

While driving down 51st Avenue at 3 p.m ., Magness came upon a man throwing water under a city bus. The man told Magness there was a dog under the bus.

Magness pulled over and talked with passengers and the bus driver.

According to the driver, a man was walking his dog when the animal somehow got loose and ran underneath the parked bus.

It took 20 minutes, but Magness got the dog out from under the bus.

The dog was then turned over to Maricopa County Animal Control for evaluation and possible adoption.

See what Magness said about the incident:

The next stop happened at 4 p.m.

Magness responded to a verbal argument between a father and son. He didn't make any arrest, but did have lengthy conversations with both men. According to Magness, he responds to a high number of calls about arguments between family members.

%page_break%At 5:45 p.m. when it started getting dark out, Magness turned his attention to watching for people who were riding bikes without bike lights. In Arizona, it's illegal to ride your bike at night without a light. Magness stopped about five people throughout the night and advised them to get a bike light. He also ran their names in his database to make sure there weren't any active warrants against them.

The next stop in this 10-hour day was an apartment complex where man had been accused of smoking drugs in his apartment with a child inside.

Magness arrived to the apartment neart 49th Avenue and Thomas Road around 8 p.m. with his sergeant and another officer to help handle the scene.

Magness was able to locate the apartment and talk to the suspect. The individual denied all accusations and police searched him for any illegal substances. They didn't find anything, so no arrests were made.

See what Magness had to say about the situation:

After that call, it was time for dinner.

Magness and several other officers took a 45-minute dinner break together at 9 p.m. and talked about things happening throughout the night.

At 10 p.m., Magness went towards 27th Avenue and Indian School Road to an area that is known for prostitution.

Magness stopped several individuals and questioned their activities in the area. No arrests or reports were made.

While leaving the area at 10:30 p.m ., Magness came across a fire truck stopped near Interstate 17 and Indian School Road.

Firefighters on the scene told Magness they came across an individual who had injuries to his face. Firefighters weren't sure how the man got injured but when they arrived his face was on the ground.

After making sure the scene was secure, Magness let firefighters continued their work.

Magness comments on the situation:

%page_break%At 11 p.m. it was already time for the ride-along to end. On the way back to the precinct, Magness looked for anything suspicious or out of the ordinary along the roads.

He told us there's no such thing as a typical day in his line of work; everyday brings new experiences and situations.

He's been with the Phoenix Police Department for five years, and before that, served for three and a half years as a detention officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff Office.

What's Magness's favorite part of the job? "I like this job because I believe I was put on this planet to help people."

Many people don't know that police officers are usually the first responders at scenes. "We are the first on scene before firefighters arrive at scenes, like a drowning or a baby choking," Magness said.

"Sometimes we are the bad guys, but a lot of times we are the good guys," Magness added.

For Magness, the worst part of his job is seeing bad things happen to good people. On a regular basis, Magness says he will see things happen to innocent children.

"I go out on many calls and see kids with lousy parents," Magness said.

After Magness retires from the force, he is hoping to teach people how to become an officer.

According to police records, Magness had the most traffic stops in September among his Phoenix precinct.  Magness was also in the top three for calls answered in his precinct during the same time period.

See photos from the ride along on

Print this article Back to Top