The unit is available to help area commands with special projects in which a large, visible police presence is needed or when officers and mounts can help "flush" certain elements out of a neighborhood.
Among its successes have been the unit's efforts in helping find missing/lost children, especially in neighborhoods where children flock to see the horses.
Its start-up followed more than a year of research by Officers Eric Fricker, Kelly Korb and Kendall Wiley who looked into the feasibility of a Mounted Police Unit to deliver police services and would supplement foot, vehicle and bicycle patrols. The officers traveled more than 12,000 miles, contacted 20 mounted police units, and personally interviewed and observed 11 of these units. Additional hours were spent in researching safety equipment, housing, and deployment strategiThe LVMPD Mounted Unit officially began on July 31, 1998, with two officers, two horses and a sergeant. It now includes nine horses, five full-time riders and one officer who serves as trainer/rider.
Officers and mounts require extensive training and discipline. Seasoned officers must complete a 40-hour basic riding school and a three-month extensive training period, focusing on equitation. Suitable mounts are required to perform under stressful situations. Finding horses to meet the neeeds of police work is very difficult. For more information, see Las Vegas Friends of the Mounted Unit web site, www.lasvegasmountedpolice.com.
Since it began, the Mounted Patrol has spent most of its time conducting routine patrol both downtown and on the Strip. The remainder of the time the unit is used for any major events that may require crowd control such as strike rallies, protests, sporting events, large concerts, etc. The size of the horses, not to mention the accompanying intimidation factor, have helped make the unit at these type of events.
The Mounted Patrol Unit's barn is located located at 5857 E. Flamingo Rd. across from Horseman's Park, on Clark County Sanitation District property. The complex, which includes a modular office and a 12-stall barn, was completed for about $100,000, 66% less than the initial estimate of $300,000.