Tempe police officers train for crowd control with horses - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Tempe police officers train for crowd control with horses

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

You've probably seen officers on horses on Mill Avenue or outside of crowded sporting events. The horses themselves are officers too and learning to ride them for police work takes extensive training. 

Becoming a member of the Tempe Mounted Horse Unit is a prestigious job, but it comes with a lot of hard work.  On Tuesday, 10 officers trained -- learning riot and crowd control tactics at Kiwanis Park.

These beautiful creatures are also hard working officers and riding them is a job that few get to do.

"One of the primary jobs of the mounted units is crowd control for fights on Mill Avenue, for large fights at ballparks, for protests, stuff like that.. we're training these guys how to get in there, how to move a crowd, how to effectively move them safely," said Ted Noel, Master Trainer of the Tempe Police Mounted Unit.

Every officer in training has worked on the streets for two years already.  They each had to take a written test before they were accepted in the mounted program.

"They'll do about 80 hours in the saddle.  Once they're done with that, then they can work as a reserve officer, work overtime, whenever we need extra officers, they can do that," said Noel.

Now that the trainees are in the saddle, they're learning formations and practicing scenarios, like protests or a crowded event.  Noel says that in those situations, horses like Thor can alone do the work of 10 officers.

"That's a lot of resources that the city doesn't have to come up with.  You put two of us out there, we can move a pretty big sized crowd with these guys."

The course takes six weeks and at this time, no full-time positions are available in the mounted unit.

This is the 40th year that horses have been a part of the Tempe Police Department.

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