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Madison police officers explain why they’re riding horseback

Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 9:37 PM CDT
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BROOKLYN, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit is growing, with several officers graduating this week from a month-long training program.

“It’s not like he’s a tool. He’s a partner, and we’re here together,” Officer Jessica Wolf said.

She trained with Chevy, a Percheron-Friesian Gelding, among other horses in the unit. They horses help department engage with the community.

Officer Wolf knows what patrolling can be like without them. “I had some difficulties in certain neighborhoods, trying to get people out and about and even to say hello to me,” she said. “When they see us in neighborhoods, they’re always like, ‘What’s wrong?’”

“It’s like a big, black, furry magnet that we just sit on, and it brings the public to us,” MPD Officer Ken Mulry said. He has served on horseback for 13 years. “They can ask us questions. They see that we’re human beings just like them.”

With five new graduates this season, the unit will have more resources for other efforts like crowd management or search and rescue operations.

“We have to take officers that are already good police officers and now make them a horseman or a horsewoman,” he said. “There’s a whole lot to it to keep them safe, to keep our horses safe, but most importantly to keep the public safe.”

After a final assessment Friday, field training will come next. Officers will hit the streets for a week to ride with a veteran officer.

“We’re available for anything, and we’re excited to go out there and help,” Wolf said.

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