From the streets and parks of Anaheim to the Mall in Washington, D.C., the Anaheim Police Department Mounted Enforcement Unit has distinguished itself. In Washington, it was during presidential inauguration ceremonies. The Anaheim experience continues, and involves a serious law enforcement mission as well as reinforcement of the Department’s positive image with people of all ages.
Mounted officers frequently attend community events, and when not in "enforcement mode" allow citizens to pet the horses, while they (the officers!) answer any questions regarding the horses and police work in general.
In the words of Sergeant Mike Zigmund, "This promotes a positive image of the Department and police officers, and is a very positive experience for all involved. It promotes police-community partnerships—so important in APD’s community policing efforts."
The unit controls crowds at sporting events, demonstrations, parades, concerts and other gatherings. In addition, mounted officers provide a highly visible police presence to deter criminal activity, and have the potential to provide such presence in the event of a natural or man-made disaster—especially in areas where vehicular access is limited or impossible.
Mounted officers have issued citations and made arrests from horseback for a wide range of violations involving narcotics, weapons, traffic, and driving under the influence and other alcohol violations.
The APD Mounted Enforcement Unit is comprised of generally seven officers. These officers volunteer the use of their mounts to the service of the Department. The horses are actually owned by the officers, and the horses, like the officers, are subjected to a rigorous and continuing training routine. According to Reserve Officer/Trainer Frank Harris, "The horses (like the officers) must remain calm in the face of danger, and are trained to act appropriately in a variety of situations."
According to Lieutenant Paul Gallagher, "We train together at least once a month, but each of us continues to train with his or her equine partner almost daily."
Dedication? "Yes," "it takes a lot of dedication. General inter-communication, officers to horses and vice versa, is necessary to become and continue as an effective mounted enforcement team."
In Anaheim, we can be thankful that The Light Cavalry Still Rides.