SPD Mounted Unit @ Westwood: Last time we’ll see this?

Thanks to West Seattle writer (and world-traveling volunteer!) Lori Hinton for sharing this photo taken this afternoon at the Westwood Village Bank of America. We’ve seen teams from the West Seattle-headquartered Seattle Police Mounted Patrol at Westwood before – Becky shared a photo last February; a year earlier, we caught a photo at Westwood’s then-WaMu. SPD has told us they bring the horses to areas like this to get used to working in traffic. But now, as reported here more than a month ago, the Mounted Patrol is slated to be disbanded as part of the new budget – and while not all the fine print is finalized, we haven’t seen/heard anything indicating the mayor’s original proposal will change.

9 Replies to "SPD Mounted Unit @ Westwood: Last time we'll see this?"

  • Dill November 13, 2010 (11:06 pm)

    McGinn is a useless waste of time with no real purpose aside from making this city as crappy as humanly possible. Thanks for nothing, dude.

  • Bender November 14, 2010 (8:53 am)

    Horses are beautiful. But if someone had just robbed me at the ATM and took off in their truck, I think I’d rather have a cop in a car go after my stuff.

  • Cheryl November 14, 2010 (3:31 pm)

    I’ve seen the mounted police at Westwood before, but only because my daughter noticed them first (Mama! There’s a horse!”). Double take! Anyway, I really really hope that the Mayor, or city council, or whomever is in charge of this final decision changes their mind… what a shame it would be to lose them!

  • Sarah November 14, 2010 (3:32 pm)

    The police officer was banking…I watched him collect the tube from the machine. It was pretty funny, but I don’t think he was there on “official police business”.

  • austin November 14, 2010 (4:45 pm)

    I agree that horses are fun and nice but what real purpose do they serve in modern police work? Aside from getting cops to the ATM in style.

  • datamuse November 14, 2010 (5:16 pm)

    They’re supposed to be really good for crowd control. You can sorta see it, I think; a bicycle officer is pretty vulnerable, and a patrol car isn’t much higher than someone walking. An officer on a horse is mobile, has visibility, and a pretty effective intimidation factor. (They’re also ideal for parks and rural areas, but that’s less of an issue in Seattle.)
    They can be good PR, too. When I worked downtown I saw mounted officers from time to time and people who might’ve otherwise ignored them or been hostile were really interested and intrigued by the horses.

  • Dina November 14, 2010 (7:21 pm)

    Some food for thought on the effectiveness of mounted police from an article from the City of New Haven’s website (http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Mayor/ReadMore.asp?ID={9BAFF722-D5B1-4C45-89A0-1A1499F48034})
    The purpose of the unit is four-fold:
    • Mounted officers are used in the same manner of patrol officers and are dispatched to calls for service just as are officers in cars, on motorcycles and on bicycles.

    • Mounted officers are used for crowd control during parades, demonstrations, concerts and bar closings, since each horse is equal to 10 officers on foot patrol.

    • Mounted officers are used for public relations functions such as school visits, since a member of the general public will talk with a person on a horse more readily than to an officer in a vehicle.

    • Mounted officers are used in a ceremonial manner at functions such as parades, funerals and inaugurations.

    Many cities have increased their mounted units, including Boston and New York City, because mounted police officers enjoy a number of advantages. They can see from a much higher perspective and from a greater distance, which makes them valuable in patrol and crime deterrence. And while members of the public may not always respond positively to a police officer, almost everyone likes animals, which can enhance the interaction.

  • nighthawk November 14, 2010 (9:51 pm)

    I realize that the budget cuts have to come from somewhere but this one is one I really don’t get. Once the mounted police are gone, it’s not something that can easily be restarted.

    I think they do have an important purpose that can’t be easily replicated.

  • austin November 16, 2010 (7:05 pm)

    Thanks datamuse and Dina, I had thought about it but couldn’t completely understand the importance of mounted police aside from a historical perspective. I agree it’s unfortunate that we’re losing this asset.

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