Reality - The Ride
This idea is based on the ride-along programs that many police departments already have in the US. These programs have already established the fact that you can sign a legally-binding waiver absolving the departments from any liabilities due to the consequences of your participation. With that in mind we should expand the programs and use the income this will generate to improve our public services.
The way to do this is be fairly simple. All we have to do is sell seating in police cars, ambulances and fire engines. Tickets could be purchased in half day and full day segments. Judging by how long the lines get when people slow down to check out a bad accident there's a strong market for something like this. The market would be even stronger if you added in people like myself who would buy tickets on the ambulances for their high-school-age kids so they can see how much fun drinking looks like after a bad accident (ambulances would have to be slightly modified to put a jumpseat right behind the passenger side front seat so the rider was out of the way. Or, the rider could switch to the front seat when the paramedic went to the back to take care of the patient. Either way, the rider would be out of the way).
A quick calculation shows that if you had 20 vehicles available and sold one 8 hour shift on them each day then the city adopting this program would bring in over half a million extra dollars. That money could be used to increase the pay of the people involved and get them better equipment, both of which would improve service to the public.
One of the objections that has been raised to this idea is that the Riders might get in the way and impair the performance of our first responders. There are a few reasons why I don't think that will happen:
It's not happening in the programs we're already running.
The Riders will know they are subject to same laws against interfering with an officer that any bystander who deliberately gets in the way is subject to. They would also be risking a lawsuit by the victim. Bottom line - they'd know it was in their best interest to stay in their seats like they said they would.
First responders are taught to always go to the first call they receive, even if it means going right past someone else who's having an emergency. Case in point: Paramedics are called to a home where someone is having a heart attack. On the way there they come across a multi-car accident where several lives could be saved if they stopped to help. One life or several? The young or the old? Legally they are required to ignore the accident and continue on to the heart attack victim. It would be the same thing with the Reality Riders. If they were hurt at the scene, regardless of whose fault it was, the duty of the first responders would continue to be to help the people they were sent to help. It sounds kind of cold, but that's part of reality too. Even if a diminished level of service was sometimes received by a few people due to the riders being present that might easily be offset by the improved level of service received by other people due to the extra dollars/pounds/yen the program contributed to the emergency services. Luck, as usual, would determine which end of the stick you got.