By christian Ackman
You may often see Mounted Police officers patrolling in your area, especially if you live in urban areas. Have you ever wondered what role they play in the community or how they are trained? Luckily we’ve got some answers for you!
Most often, mounted police officers facilitate crowd control at large events. One officer and his horse can provide more force than 10 officers on foot, allowing efficient control of large crowds. They are also able to patrol from horseback, allowing a good perspective of the crowd. In addition to patrolling large events, mounted police can be utilized during search and rescue efforts. Horses are able to get where vehicles cannot, while being able to move quicker than officers on foot. Their interaction with the community is also valuable, as many civilians find mounted officers more approachable. The positive interactions allow good relationships between the community and police force.
Training to become a mounted police officer can be strenuous. All mounted officers must attend regular police academy, and patrol as a regular officer for three years before they will be considered for a specialty unit. If a job is open in the mounted unit, the officer must begin a specialized training. They have mounted lessons learning equitation, as well as classes to better understand horsemanship, equine behavior, and equine health. In addition to these horse-specific lessons, they also must master advanced crowd control techniques and search and rescue training. These training lessons typically take six months to complete.
Horses used for the mounted officers also have to complete specialized training. Most times, the horses used in police departments are either draft horses or quarter horses, due to their calm demeanor and stout build. Their extensive training prepares them for any situation they might encounter while on patrol. Desensitization to a wide variety of sights and sounds is necessary, as these horses will find themselves in many unpredictable and vulnerable situations, much different than the average horse would ever have to face. They expose them to crowded quarters, smoke, flares, gun shots, mock riots, and many other disturbances. They have to walk on bridges, teeter-totters, tarps, and other unfamiliar surfaces. By the end of the horses training, they are expected to be able to approach any situation with confidence while staying completely calm.
The mounted police force is very necessary and beneficial in our cities. The training the horses go through is more than impressive, and to watch them control a large crowd can impress anyone. Both officers and horses put in a lot of time and training to be able to provide such a unique service to our community, and we are lucky to be able to benefit from them. If you see a mounded officer, stop by and ask about their horse. They love bragging on these magnificent horses, as they deserve every bit of it.