“The Police Mounted unit is a valuable asset. Their presence itself deters crime, and they are also extraordinarily popular in the community. Kids just can’t get enough of them. I know some cities have disbanded their mounted units, but I think they’re too valuable in fighting crime and in community relations.” – Mayor Bill Finch
Bridgeport, Conn. (July 1, 2015) – The Police Department’s Mounted Unit provides a high-visibility presence in neighborhoods across Bridgeport seven days a week.
The horses offer several advantages to law enforcement. When dealing with crowds, one mounted officer is as effective as 10 officers on foot and, on patrol, their high visibility deters crime. And, they are extremely popular in the community.
“The Police Mounted unit is a valuable asset. Their presence itself deters crime, and they are also extraordinarily popular in the community,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “Kids just can’t get enough of them. I know some cities have disbanded their mounted units, but I think they’re too valuable both in fighting crime and in community relations.”
The horses are staples downtown, at parades and at community events and school graduations. But they also are out in the community seven days a week. Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. recalled a public safety assembly at Park City Magnet School last year where students got to see their principal in firefighter gear, see police officers in scuba gear, meet the police and fire chiefs, tour the Dive Team trailer and climb through Fire Department Engine 15.
“By far, the most popular part with the kids were the two horses. After the assembly, I don’t know how many kids remembered my name, but they sure remembered the horses’ names,” Gaudett said. “We send the Mounted Unit to every neighborhood. They’re out in our parks. They attend community events. And when they arrive, they are treated like celebrities. The officers even have baseball card-sized pictures of themselves and their horses to give out to kids.”
- Click here to see the cards on display at the Corporate Deli downtown: http://bit.ly/1Nx9jOT.
The department currently has five horses in the Mounted Unit. Their stable is in Seaside Park.
Sgt. Erick Norton said the unit serves as a effective crime deterrent. And, he added, members of the unit enjoy the community interaction as much as the community likes the horses.
“The Mounted Unit is great public relations. We’re more approachable I think because we’re out on horseback,” said Sgt. Norton. “People come up to us and the animal kind of breaks the ice.”
That was in clear focus when Doingitlocal.com, a hyper-local news site, received a picture from a reader of police officers and their horses being the center of attention in Trumbull Gardens. Based on the online attention the photo generated, Doingitlocal.com did a video feature on the steeds and their human police counterparts.
- Click here to watch the video on Doingitlocal.com: http://bit.ly/1T6fNYI.
Doingitlocal’s Steve Krauchick caught up to the horses, surrounded by kids, a few days later in Trumbull Gardens. When he arrived, the kids already knew the horses by name.