I met Kelly yesterday on Rush and Delaware Place, a location where CPD often locates one of their horse trailers. The CPD officer I spoke with said the 32 CPD horses have similar dispositions. They’re gentle and friendly. Horses can be skittish when it comes to strangers. Kelly let me pet her immediately. He was also convinced I had something for him to eat. When I’d turn around, he’d nip at my jacket, wanting more attention or more likely, wanting an apple or whatever horses eat. As I was leaving, Kelly went back into the trailer, but peeked out the door repeatedly to see if I was actually departing. It was hysterical, I’d start walking away, and Kelly would go back into the trailer. I’d turn around and Kelly would be scoping me out. If you ever get a chance, say hi to the horses and to the CPD cops who ride them, both are great ambassadors for the department and lord knows CPD could use some positive interaction with Chicago’s citizens.
The following copy is from the CPD website. The Mounted Patrol Unit currently houses 32 horses (geldings) which are acquired by the Chicago Police Department through purchases and donations. To qualify a horse for duty, they are chosen for uniformity – alike in appearance, size and temperament. Once the horse is chosen, they are put through an extensive training process to ensure they are capable of meeting the service needs of the unit.
In addition to special events that occur around the city all year long, the Mounted Patrol Unit also conducts daily patrols in several areas of downtown Chicago, including the lakefront, the Museum Campus, Lincoln and Grant Parks, and the shopping areas of North Michigan Avenue and State Street.
There are many benefits of patrol on horseback. These include visibility for an officer to see over crowds or situations as well as for increased perception of police presence when a person can see an officer in a crowd. They provide mobility, many times allowing an officer to get to a scene faster and more efficiently than on foot or in a vehicle. They are Ambassadors of Good Will and encourage approachability by members of the public, since many people love animals or are curious about horses.