Did you know that officers on horseback are six times more visible than officers in patrol cars?
The Mounted Unit with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has been out at several elementary schools raising awareness about school safety zones. They have been working at crosswalks, escorting fascinated students safely across the street. It’s not uncommon to hear things like, “I like your horsey!” from young students and “Can I get a ride home on the horse?!” from older ones as the kids go through the crosswalks.
On the morning of August 19, Lieutenant Rich Anselmi and volunteer (and LPS employee!) Jeanne Hildreth were on duty at Dr. Justina Ford Elementary School with their horses Benelli and Zippo.
Amanda Johnson with ACSO said the mounted patrol unit “has been a great bridge to the community, and there have been so many positive interactions.” Lieutenant Anselmi likes to give her a hard time because she was skeptical of the need for a mounted unit, but her mind was changed by wtinessing interactions in communities where some people have never even seen a horse. Horses are also great ice-breakers; people aren’t shy about approaching an officer on a horse to strike up a conversation.
Lieutenant Anselmi has also authored a children’s book about Benelli called, "The Happy Police Horse." According to the ACSO Mounted Patrol’s website, “[t]he Mounted Unit started a 'Reading to a Horse' program where the horses go to elementary schools and students are able to increase their reading skills by reading out loud to the horses.” The book is available for purchase on the ACSO’s website, and proceeds support the Back the Blue K9 Force, which is a nonprofit organization that supports law enforcement service animals.
The Mounted Unit is also looking for more volunteers--but it’s not for the faint of heart! Jeanne Hildreth had to go through a 19-page application, a polygraph test, and additional training for both her and Zippo!
LPS is so grateful to have such a great working relationship with our local law enforcement!