Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 4, 2013

City looks to start mounted patrols

KPD hoping to lease horses for officers

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

— Kokomo Police officers on rented horses are set to patrol big city events this summer, under a new program unveiled by Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight Monday.

“We reviewed mounted patrol units in other communities and found them to be an effective resource to support patrol officers,” Goodnight said in a press release. “I believe they will be a great asset for increasing the interaction between police and citizens.”

According to the city’s press release, Indianapolis is the only Indiana city with an active mounted patrol. Officers in Indianapolis go through a 16-week training course and use primarily American quarter horses or a quarter horse crossed with a draft horse, according to the city’s website.

City officials said Kokomo’s program “is still in its infancy” but said it has generated significant interest from officers and the community at large.

Goodnight first fielded a question about the program on a local radio show two weeks ago, after fliers went up at City Hall asking officers if they’d be interested.

“We anticipate having the program in place sometime in May of this year,” KPD Chief Rob Baker said. “At this early juncture, we have not determined when or how often the Mounted Patrols will be utilized. Being on horseback will provide our officers with an excellent visual observation platform at any event in which they participate.”

The horse patrol would cover the downtown area, special events and the city’s park and trail system, officials said, both to fight crime and to serve as a public relations tool.

The program would start with leased horses, in order to minimize startup costs, with draft-cross horses preferred because of their size and demeanor.

City officials said quarter horses are used by many existing mounted departments.

The city is looking for individuals who would be willing to rent a horse or horses for the program. Anyone who would like to have their horses considered for this program is invited to contact Major Jim Calabro at 456-7269.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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