I guess I'm being really anticlimactic. Anyway, I did the ride-along about 2-3 weeks ago on what ended up being one of the coldest days of the past year. I was told by several cops that cold usually means slow evening, but I did see a fair amount of action.
My instructions were to follow my officer everywhere (unless he told me to stay in the car) and stay a couple feet behind him. The only time I had to stay in the car was when there was an on foot pursuit (with guns drawn) of three "perps" who attempted to break into a house. But I was able to get very up close and personal with the seamy underbelly of South Columbus. Even on the coldest day of the year, crackheads, drug dealers, prostitutes, and other misc. criminals were still active in the area.
The experience was a lot of fun and I'd recommend it to any urban core dweller. Most of the precincts that cover the lower-crime downtown neighborhoods also cover portions of higher crime areas and knowing this, and seeing the substantial amount of activity going on during a slow day, helped me see how hard many officers work to keep the city safe. Also, I think I might do another this summer to see what a busy night is like.