Officer Mack on Working with the Public…
[The civilians are] who we work for. You’re my employer, that’s how I see it. I’m here to please you; I’m not here to please the chief of police, I’m here to please the citizens, who are paying my salary. And if you guys say you want the mounted patrol unit, well, you want the mounted patrol unit. That’s the way it is.
You’ve got a contact with the public that you don’t have when you’re on a motorcycle, or on a bike, or in a car. Especially with the little kids. Some kids have never seen a horse, and they come up and pet the horse and talk to you, and they have a positive interaction with the police, whereas before they may have had zero contact or negative contact. Because a lot of people are only used to seeing the police when there’s a problem. And that’s really positive. It’s also powerful with people who have mental handicaps and emotional problems. And it’s amazing, you can see it! And we deal with a lot of that in Old Town…you can see they’re anxious, and they start petting the horse, and “phew,” it just melts away, and they’re relaxed, and it’s been a great day for them—it’s an experience that they’ll remember.
For crowd control, we can move a lot of people in a non-threatening way. You don’t have to use force. If we’re on the ground, we’re eye to eye…I gotta push you back, and it’s one on one. but on a horse, I just keep steppin towards ya, and you’re gonna move out of the way, because I got 1,400 pounds on my side.
I can see the huge value in this unit. We’ve saved a lot of cops from getting hurt. Especially in crowd control situations…we’re like a moving wall. If these guys are on the ground and the crowd is surging at them, my job is to get in there and take it all so that these guys are safe. So the people that have really seen what the horses do, and witnessed them work, they can really see how beneficial they are.