“Dino” was introduced as the newest four-legged member of the Las Vegas police force in November 2018. The 9-year-old rescue was donated to the department. On November 16, the mounted patrol announced on their Facebook page that Dino had completed his training. The unit is looking for the public’s help in coming up with a new — more fitting — name.
Roughly half of the mounted police unit are dedicated to keeping the UNLV safe and peaceful.
Besides patrolling, the mounted unit performs a monthly display on campus. The riders and horses areal make time for appearances at local schools.
A recent campus demonstration showed off the horses’ ‘special moves,’ as well as the training they undergo.
“It comes down to control and trust, like any good relationship,” said Nicholas Wooldridge, a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney.
Officer Stephani Preston, along with her equine partner, Pride, is often front and center in keeping Las Vegas’ crowds under control.
“It’s different from being in a car,” says Preston. “I have to think about controlling this 1,500-pound animal who has a mind of his own.”
Preston has been a mounted officer more than 15-years and find juggling police work while keeping her balance on Pride is all natural now. “I don’t even have to think about it now,” said Preston.
“When we got to elementary schools, we are often asked if it is alright to bring out the kids in wheelchairs and with walkers. Those are the more awesome life-moments. It is too cool to describe,” added Preston.
Mounted police often serve in remote areas, but also in metropolitan regions where they are engaged in crowd control. Their mobile mass and height advantage is used increasingly for crime prevention and high visibility policing.
Often, mounted police are used for specialized duties which can range from park patrol and wilderness areas, they are especially practical for areas where police cars are not suitable.
The French Marechaussee were the first national police force in a modern sense which worked mounted constabulary. Bad roads and wide swaths of rural areas turned horse-mounted police into a necessity.
The founding of organized law-enforcement groups across Africa, Asia and the Americas, during colonial eras, made the idea of horse-police acceptable world-wide.
Tack used by mounted law enforcement is similar to standard riding gear. Synthetic saddles are often preferred over natural leather and high-traction horseshoes are often used in urban areas.
Horses in riot control are provided facial armor of perspex and the riders are frequently given especially long wooden batons for use. Standard patrol batons aren’t long enough and can’t strike individual’s standing on the ground.
The United States Border Patrol had 200 horses in 2017. Most of these are employed along the U.S.-Mexico border. In Arizona, the horses are given special feed so that their waste does not spread non-native plants in the national parks they patrol.
Even as some metropolitan areas like Portland think about shuttering their units, cities which disbanded their units in tight budget years have started the process of bringing them back. After a 10-year hiatus, Duluth, MN’s mounted police returned to this summer. The bigger Philadelphia Police Department brought its mounted unit back.