modern day camelot, horses in crowd control, patriot policing|mounted unit, horses in policing|police horse costs, running a barn, mounted unit finances
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Opinion: The Modern-Day Camelot - Law Enforcement's Mounted Unit

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July 5, 2017
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King Arthur’s Camelot. A time when righteousness and valor reigned supreme. The fictional king and his legendary knights mounted their glorious steeds to slay monsters of lore and rescue damsels in distress. Now, fast-forward several centuries and let’s take a look at something real. America. This modern day “Camelot” has fallen on hard times. It seems like every day people are protesting or rioting somewhere in the country. While I don’t want to delve into the reasoning why, I do want to call forth the knights of old. More specifically, their main instrument of rule: the horse.The concept of a charging cavalry has been used in warfare for as long as the wild stallion was broken and husbandry implemented. Nowadays, they have been replaced by tanks and armored vehicles, but sometimes – and I do mean sometimes – going back in time has a place in society. This is one of those cases. The mounted units of police departments are instrumental in controlling the unruly masses intent on seeking property destruction and anarchy. Horses promote positive citizen contacts and can go where cars cannot. One horse/officer combo can do the work of a dozen on foot patrol. This article will examine the horse and its instrumental role in policing these days – from both a financial as well as impactful point of view.

Financial Aspects of the Mounted Unit

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police horse costs, running a barn, mounted unit finances

Haters gonna hate...horses are cheaper then cars.[/caption]Back when I was a police officer, the city council considered placing cuts on the mounted unit budget. In fact, we were one of only a handful of departments still implementing the “archaic” horse. After an intense audit, the city conceded its grubby paws and realized it was far cheaper to keep the mounted unit then disband it. It costs approximately $10 a day to maintain a single police horse. That’s including the feed, vet bills, housing, etc. Basically everything a horse needs to be healthy and happy. Compare that to a vehicle. Gas alone runs triple that for a day on patrol – not to mention mandated calibrations and maintenance costs. The expenditures are astronomical in comparison to our four legged friends.I can already hear the naysayers (pun intended). “Don’t you gotta buy the horses to start with?” That’s a negative Ghostrider. Most, if not all, police horses are donated – whether they be older race horses or those that cannot be sustained by a farm anymore.“Well, what about the training costs?” Again, the pattern is full – your flyby request is denied. The training of a horse is covered in the salary of the officer performing the constant and residual training.“Ok. But what about housing the beasts?” That’s a great question. Most cities have either existent park facilities, or seized structures, that require minimal funds to convert into a barn.“Fine, but what about the cars the mounted officers drive to work?” Well, I guess you got me there – but there is a drastic difference in the wear and tear on a commuter vehicle in comparison to the beating a patrol care takes each shift. Basically, what I’m saying is – from a purely fiscal operation, the horse makes more sense than a car in densely populated areas.

Tactical Benefits of the Mounted Unit from doing everything a foot patrolman, or bike patrolman, can do – the horse possesses insurmountable characteristics that put the former to shame. This is true, especially when it comes to riots. Having witnessed, and helped diffuse, several protests – I can tell you there’s nothing better than the mounted unit barreling around the bend. There’s a reason New Orleans still implements the horse when clearing the streets after the closing hours of Mardi Gras. Whether it be the clacking of the hooves against cobblestone, or their massive muscular frames, people tend to get the hell out of the way for the majestic beasts. Six mounted units can do the work of several dozen officers in full riot gear. Parading left or right, throngs of people quickly move to keep away from their mighty bodies.The number one way to control a mob of anarchists, is to place order in their ranks and control the way they move. The horse does just that. As you can see in the video, they move quickly and intimidate the mob to splinter into smaller - and more controllable - groups. Forget firing tear gas or rubber bullets, which should be kept on hand regardless, and use the strength of horsepower to move and dissuade a crowd.

Equestrian Community Policing

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mounted unit, horses in policing

Everybody loves a horse...[/caption]While protestors may cower in fear, like the true masked cowards they are, children and law-abiding citizens can’t get enough of the creature. They are truly the most effective form of community policing available. I can’t recall the amount of times a young person would want to pet the horse’s mane or feed it a carrot or two, breaking down the barrier between citizen and cop. The physical act of touching brings people together. Unlike police K-9s, mounted units CAN be pet by citizens – at the officer’s allowance of course. Somehow the beast makes the rider more human and approachable – fear melts away with each snort. Ironically, it takes a beast to foster a perceived human image of police officers.Aside from the community relations, any animal lover can get behind the idea of a second home for such a regal creature. The same creature, that would otherwise be making a final pit stop at the glue factory, is given a second chance by joining the ranks of law enforcement.

Final Thoughts stated all the reasons, from fiscal to tactical, I say we need to increase mounted unit applications across the country - especially with the current state of social justice affairs. I can tell you from first hand experience, it’s like the wild-west out on the mean streets of America. So, let’s take a page from history’s playbook; increase the mounted unit application and go wrangle up some scumbags!America is the melting-pot of modern day Camelots. Don’t forget that.Stay chivalrous ‘Merica!

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