The Police Horse is an effective part of modern law enforcement. Increasing numbers of law enforcement agencies are establishing mounted units each year. Horses are by far the most effective crowd control tool available due to the height advantage, high visibility and excellent maneuverability. They are valuable in patrolling areas inaccessible by vehicles and can cover far greater area than foot patrols.
Perhaps most importantly, the Police Horse is an excellent public relations tool. Mounted Officers create a sense of security simply by their presence and frequently enjoy a special relationship with the citizens that they serve. Establishing and building upon these relationships is key to the concept of community policing. The Macomb County Sheriff's Mounted Division is made up of experienced equestrians, dedicated to community service who share a common interest in mounted law enforcement and organized riding.
Before being accepted as a fully deputized member of the Department, each member must successfully complete an extensive training and qualification program. Typically this program takes about six months, during which time the probationary members become proficient in the use of their horse in crowd and traffic control, become qualified marksmen and train in law enforcement techniques. The deputies and their mounts train together, learning to perform their assignments as a team.
With public safety as a foremost concern, deputies and their mounts train regularly in such skills as mounted drill, crowd control, official security, street patrols and mounted law enforcement techniques. The horse and rider are regularly put through a confidence course that exposes them to many of the obstacles they may typically encounter. They must be routinely able to cope with sirens, gun shots, fireworks, flares and all manner of street distractions. Exposure to these situations schools the horse to cope with these encounters and prepares the deputy to maintain safe control in public.
In addition to the Division's own training program, the deputies and their mounts participate in special training events in conjunction with other agencies. Members also participate in mounted police training and competitions at the local through national level. Although the mounted deputies are thoroughly trained in various law enforcement duties, a primary role of the Mounted Division is community service and public relations. The Division takes part in numerous public events each year, participating in parades, fairs, festivals, charity functions and memorial services. Through participation in these events, mounted deputies serve as ambassadors for the community, projecting a positive image of law enforcement and generating goodwill among the public.
The Mounted Division has maintained a fine record of law enforcement excellence and community service. In its recent history the Division has provided mounted security for three United States Presidents, the Governor of Michigan and numerous political leaders and noted personages. Through their law enforcement work and community relations efforts, Mounted Officers provide an important public service and are a great asset to the citizens they protect. The Mounted Division is proud of its traditions and its long association with the community. It is an organization in which Macomb County can truly take pride.