Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 2:05 p.m.
Just about everyone likes horses so now Spokane’s C.O.P.S. organization wants to bring its mounted patrol to a city park near you.
“It’s going to draw kids and families into that park which is what our goal is. They are going to be able come up, and they are going to be able to meet the horse, pet the horse, ask questions,” said Traci Ponto, president of the C.O.P.S. Mounted Patrol Unit.
The mounted patrol is made up of both police officers and civilian volunteers however, the unit’s riders don’t plan to be chasing crooks on horseback.
“We are not armed. We don’t have our vests on. We are not contacting bad guys. We are not making arrests. We are strictly PR,” stressed Ponto, who is a commissioned officer.
But, mounted patrol riders are still committed to reining in crime.
Their horses are an invitation for the public to find out what community oriented policing is all about.
“And using that as a vessel to start pushing things like Block Watch and Neighborhood Observation Patrol and all these other programs that we offer. So it’s about getting those conversations going about what you can do to be safe in this community and fight back against crime,” explained Patrick Striker, the executive director of Spokane C.O.P.S.
However, the unit doesn’t plan to trot into our parks without riders and animals getting some special training. If the horses are going to be around crowds and our kids, they have to be spook proof.
There were also some clean-up concerns that needed to be addressed as the unit starting looking at logistics.
“Oh, that’s a good question. So we actually put out a job description and our job description is, we are responsible for picking up our poop,” said Ponto.
But don’t expect to see the patrol horses galloping past their captive counterparts on the Looff Carrousel in Riverfront Park.
“I’m talking about bringing horses to the smaller neighborhood parks and then maybe, with the uniform that we are wearing, they’ll ask more questions about the unit that we are in and then we can kind of talk about our crime prevention and stuff,” predicted Ponto.
The gate drops on the Mounted Horse Patrol’s first ride in nine different city parks Sunday, June 3. The unit is also making an appearance at the West Central Community Center Friday, June 1, from 4-7 p.m.
The patrol is still looking for volunteers.
“And you don’t even have to have a horse to be part of the mounted patrol. We still need ground support and things like that. So if you love horses and want to fight crime, we would love to have you,” Striker offered.
For a list of the parks where you can catch up with the mounted patrol this summer go to http://www.spokanecops.org/mounted-patrol-unit-schedule-of-park-rides