Police using horses in mounted patrol has been around for a very long time. In fact, the first use of mounted police units dates back to the early 18th century. To navigate poor roads and rural areas, the French were known to ride horseback. Additionally, it wasn’t just horses either. In other parts of the world, camels were used to ride and patrol certain areas. Can you imagine seeing a New York City police officer riding down Madison Avenue astride a camel? That would be quite a sight to see for sure. Today, it’s not unusual to see police in many different cities around America on horseback. Police are still using this old-fashioned, but worthwhile form of transportation and patrol. Let’s look at a little bit more of the history, and why police use horses in this modern era.
Historical Use of Police Horses
The French may have been some of the first to use horses in their patrols, but other countries have used this method of patrol as part of their plan to keep order. Some of the most famous mounted police units in history are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Spanish Civil Guard, and the “Zapiteh” who are part of Turkey.
In modern times, the Metropolitan Mounted Police Branch is still actively based in London, England. They currently have stables in many locations around the city where you can see them patrol areas like Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, and Scotland Yard. They aren’t the only ones, if you look at countries all over the world, most of them have some form of horseback riding patrol units.
For America, in practically every state there are horse-mounted units that you can see riding around the cities. Even in Hawaii, the Honolulu Police Department has some horse-mounted policemen. And in New York City, their mounted unit was established in 1875 and is still seen around the city today.
Why Mounted Police and Police Horses Are Still Used Today
There are many reasons why mounted units are still used in police work. For one thing, a person on a large strapping animal like a horse is pretty intimidating. That makes it useful for crowd control. People tend to step back and make room for someone coming through on such a strong beast.
The height of the animal also makes it beneficial for the person riding it to have improved visibility. The mounted police are going to be able to see much further than just walking around without the added height.
Seeing officers riding around on horseback is definitely a deterrent to crime. People are less likely to cause problems during civil unrest situations when there is a serious mounted police presence.
Finally, police riding horses are useful for wilderness areas where they may not be able to get a patrol car. Horses can navigate wild terrain easily. If someone requires help in this type of area, a mounted officer may be able to get to them faster for assistance.
Police Have a Need for Advanced Protection
One of the important things a mounted police or law enforcement officer needs is proper protective gear. On a horse doing a patrol around the city, it leaves the officer out in the open. They are more exposed to a potential criminal attack. It’s not the same as being in a secure patrol car where additionally, there may be bullet-proof windows to protect them. This is where the right body armor needs to be used for advanced protection.
Haven Gear makes the next generation of riot gear. It’s unrivaled innovation, unbelievable mobility, and unparalleled safety. If you are a law enforcement officer who has to ride on a mounted patrol, this is the type of gear you and your horse need to be wearing. Our patented riot suits enable the police to ride through a crowd with protection while subduing contentious situations.