Biker who recently suffered the loss of a friend confides in deputy during traffic stop
TAMPA, Fla. - It was a 10-minute, routine traffic stop that is sure to leave a lasting impact.
In body-camera video posted on Facebook by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, a motorcycle deputy pivots from education to empathy when he encounters a distraught biker.
It happened earlier this month during a proactive patrol on Dale Mabry Highway. The deputy was focused on motorcycle safety, but shows a different meaning to the oath 'serve and protect.'
"As soon as I got out of my vehicle and I started walking up to the gentleman, I could hear him very emotional. I mean, he was already very emotional," shared Hillsborough County Master Deputy Donald Rizer.
It is a side of the job Rizer says happens more than you would think.
"I had a horrible week," the man says in the video. "I saw my friend die in front of me."
In his nearly 16 years on the force, Rizer said his focus is always on having empathy for everyone he encounters, and really trying to help.
"It’s not just about stopping people, giving people tickets. I mean, you have to be a social worker in this job, too. You have to wear many, many hats and be able to take one off and put another one on very quickly," Rizer explained. "And clearly he shouldn’t be riding a motorcycle in that state."
"I’m glad I stopped you if you’re emotional like that," Rizer told the man. "When you get a chance to talk to people, you know, that can help you, it really can, because I don’t want to see anybody to die on a motorcycle."
The man responds, "You’re the first person I actually talked to, to be honest."
"So I just took a few minutes to talk to him and noticed that he still wasn’t really doing very well, so I did something I really never do," said Rizer.
"That’s a warning for the exhaust, this is the checklist I was telling you about, just read it, familiarize yourself. And that’s my personal cell phone number if you ever need to talk, alright?"
The man has not called yet, but Rizer says he is ready to listen if the phone ever rings.