PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The recently reinstated Philadelphia Police Department’s mounted unit is trotting along, but there’s much work to be done.
Now, training is underway for both officers and horses.
Having one officer on horseback is like having several of them standing on the street, according to Lt. Dan McCann, the Philadelphia mounted police unit’s commanding officer.
“It’s about a 10-to-1 ratio for an officer on the ground. We call it a ‘ten-foot cop’ because he or she is up so high they have a good vantage point to see what’s happening from a distance of about a block or two away,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
When the unit was reinstated in August of last year (see related story), great efforts were made to secure funding and obtain horses (another related story). There are seven animals now, with the hope for five more being added by year’s end.
“The training process takes about two months to get a green horse to get ready for the street, and anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks to get an officer ready for the street,” McCann says.
There are 13 officers on the mounted police unit. Five of them started four months of training last week.
A hunt for a permanent stable for the horses is underway.
Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060