VIDEO: See inside SPD Mounted Patrol’s West Seattle home

A dozen years after saving the SPD Mounted Patrol, the Seattle Police Foundation has saddled up a special fundraising campaign for the unit, which is based here in West Seattle – in a barn next to Westcrest Park.

This time, it’s not in danger of shutdown, but the SPF funds “gaps” not covered by the basic SPD budget, so to get the word out, they invited media to visit the barn.

Riding McLovin – a name bestowed by the horse’s previous owner – in our video is Sgt. Brandon Caille, who along with one officer comprises the entirety of the Mounted Patrol’s permanent unit staff – supplemented if necessary, he says, with temporarily reassigned officers from elsewhere in the department. You must of course be trained to ride. Among those who are – SPD Chief Adrian Diaz.

When we visited during the “open barn” event on Wednesday, we had just missed the chief taking a turn around the indoor riding ring. The unit currently has six horses, plus Li’l Sebastian, who is wildly popular during community appearances:

Community appearances is what the unit focuses on, in fact, says Sgt. Caille – “relational policing” is the formal term. They might visit areas, for example, where data shows there’s been an uptick in crime. A common misconception is that they do crowd control work; Sgt. Caille says actually, they don’t.

The SPF calls its campaign “Adopt-A-Horse” – donations might even eventually fund a replacement for one of the current horses, which can cost up to about $20,000. (McLovin was one of the two most-recent purchases, in 2021.) SPF stepped up to save the unit when budget cuts threatened it in 2011; three years later, the city started covering its basic funding again, but the SPF has been covering “gaps” as it does for some other units in the department. If you’re interested in donating, go here.

12 Replies to "VIDEO: See inside SPD Mounted Patrol's West Seattle home"

  • low bridge August 25, 2023 (3:12 pm)

    They might visit areas, for example, where data shows there’s been an uptick in crime.” I would LOVE to see more of this unit out in our own community where there has definitely been an uptick in crime. We live in Highland Park and never see them anywhere around even though they are based here. I know it would be the coolest thing to see them exercising or training around the neighborhood. 

  • Mr J August 25, 2023 (5:12 pm)

    I don’t get this. Feels like more wasteful spending, why not just use department bikes. What’s the value ad of a horse? 

    • Question Authority August 25, 2023 (7:29 pm)

      Having been at events where the crowd needed a little wrangling (pun intended) when Officers on  horses comes at you, you move.  They serve as intimidating beasts and also make for good PR out in the community especially for children. 

      • Scarlett August 25, 2023 (9:42 pm)

        Sure thing, and as a very young child I remember mounted police, swinging their baton, charging anti-war protesters.  You know, what some would call “crowd control.” 

      • Mike August 26, 2023 (5:40 am)

        Exactly, there’s a change in most people’s brain when an animal that big is moving towards them.  They also provide a height advantage to spot issues over crowds, something that a car nor bicycle provide.

      • Derek August 26, 2023 (11:40 am)

        With a name like “question authority” you seem to full on support indoctrination imposed by “authority”

    • Jon August 27, 2023 (5:29 pm)

      Ever been stepped on by a horse?

  • Meeeee August 25, 2023 (5:31 pm)

    They are mere window dressing, have no proven impact on crime reduction or prevention, and the two permanent commissioned members of the mounted unit could be deployed to patrol, where the SPD is continually telling us how short-staffed they are.In times when we’re supposedly in a crisis of deployable officers to respond to 911 calls I would prefer those two officers are working the street.It would be interesting to see the stats of how often the horses are even deployed to the community events.

  • Ex-west seattlelite August 25, 2023 (5:34 pm)

    Lived in several areas of Highland Park and would see them walking by all the time. When my boys were young they use to run out to see them walking by and even got to pet them on occasion. Glad they haven’t went away and that they are getting some of the funding they need.

  • Marcus August 25, 2023 (6:13 pm)

    I kind of see this unit as preventative with a long payback period.  Kids are very impressionable.

  • Funktified August 26, 2023 (7:33 am)

    Bring them to the Funktion today! People would donate on the spot. 

  • Lauren August 26, 2023 (10:33 am)

    You can find these folks at Seward Park on occasion! The officer I spoke to said they take the horses there for additional mental stimulation and community engagement. 

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