Officer Mack on What it’s Like…
You come in, you have your roll call, you go out and exercise your horse, get ’em tacked up, whether you’re gonna lunge ’em or ride ’em a little bit. Different horses require different things. But you get ’em warmed up, and from here we just walk to work. We work downtown, Old Town, where there’s a high density of people. It’s a basically a walking beat.
T*he great thing with the horses* is that they’re really high visibility—if you’re having problems in a certain area, you go there and a lot of the problems just go away. It’s like the old saying about a cop on every corner…you just don’t have to have one on every corner because they can see you from several blocks away. And so can I. I can see what’s going on…I can see somebody doing a drug deal down there, or someone aggressively panhandling someone, or someone getting into somebody’s face. It’s real easy to get in there with a horse.
To do this job, you gotta be outgoing and willing to deal with people, because that’s what we do on a daily basis. You need to be willing to listen to people. And be able to take things at a little slower pace, because we just walk from point A to point B. We do make a lot of arrests though…we’re out there in old town and downtown, dealing with chronic issues. And you really gotta be willing to work hard. The thing that surprises people most when they get here is the amount of work that’s involved with the horse. There’s a lot of physical work that goes into it. And it’s long hours. And on your own time, you’re educating yourself…I’m constantly reading stuff and trying to figure out my partner. He doesn’t talk to me, you know, so I gotta figure out how to keep communicating with him. Then you got the weather—it doesn’t matter if it’s 30 degrees and raining; you gotta go out there.