The Omaha Police Mounted Patrol
The Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Unit began in 1989 as a part-time Unit on a trial basis when two community leaders, then Omaha Mayor P.J. Morgan and area businessman Donovan Ketzler, decided to implement a horse patrol. The Unit started with two Officers, two donated horses, a donated trailer, and all the accompanying donated tack. The original Mounted Patrol Officers assisted with big events such as Septemberfest and River City Roundup along with patrolling the downtown area, responding to disturbances, and playing a crucial role in crowd control situations. The new horse patrol exceeded expectations and was such a success in all areas of law enforcement, special events, and public relations that the Mounted Patrol was made a full-time Unit in 1990 and eventually housed at the old Aksarben race grounds.
The Mounted Patrol Unit received so many accolades from Officers within the Department as well as citizens and horse lovers among the community that a non-profit charity group was established in order to accept donations for the Horse Patrol. To this day items such as saddles, tack, trailers, and even the horses themselves are generously donated by citizens and businesses in the area who wish to support the Unit. The Citizen’s Foundation for the Omaha Mounted Patrol is a non-profit group of volunteers organized to accept donations on behalf of the horse patrol and selflessly give their time for the benefit of the Unit.
In 2005, Con Agra Foods built a state of the art equine facility at 615 Leavenworth Street next to its prestigious downtown campus, in order to house the Mounted Patrol Unit. This facility includes a heated indoor training arena, an outside training arena and turn-out area, fifteen 12x12 stalls, tack room, classroom, locker rooms, offices, a large indoor heated storage area which includes room for two trucks, two trailers, 500 plus bales of hay, a grain bin, workshop area, and semi-trailer loads of shavings for stall bedding. The Mounted Patrol facility built by Con Agra is open to the public and hosts thousands of people each year who visit for tours.
Currently, the Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Unit has grown to seven Officers, one Sergeant, a full-time stable hand, and a part-time four Officer Auxiliary Riding Crew. The Unit houses twelve to fourteen horses on average and is assigned to the Traffic Unit under the command of the Southwest Precinct. With an emphasis on patrolling the ever-expanding downtown and riverfront area, the Mounted Patrol Unit will cover events all around the City of Omaha.
Mounted Patrol Officers perform all aspects of police work from horseback including traffic and crowd control; they conduct traffic stops, write citations, and make arrests. Horse Patrol Officers are often utilized during searches for missing persons, evidence, and suspects in open fields, wooded areas, and rough terrain. Mounted Patrol Officers have proven to be a valuable crime deterrent because they sit over eight feet tall with a high vantage point, they are equal to seven or more foot Officers, and they never lose a foot pursuit. As equally important, Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Officers are an unbeatable public relations tool, tirelessly and gladly serving the community they protect.