Should I Become a Mounted Policeman?
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that mounted police officers are special unit team members. Mounted police officers generally patrol areas with high pedestrian traffic, including special events. While on horseback, officers maintain crowd control, direct traffic, talk with members of the community, and look out for potential crimes. Mounted police officers may also be used during search and rescue missions, especially on terrain not hospitable for regular vehicles. The BLS reported the median annual salary for police officers in May 2015 was $58,320.
|Degree Level||GED or high school diploma required; some college recommended|
|Experience||Several years of experience in general policing; previous experience with horses recommended|
|Key Skills||Capable of making sound decisions, comfortable working with the community, able to direct others verbally, good at multitasking, willing to speak in front of crowds, familiar with standard police equipment, capable of using firearms, knowledge of squad cars, understand how to haul horse trailers and be acquainted with horse riding equipment|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Mounted Patrol Police Department websites
Steps to Become a Mounted Policeman
Let's take a look at the steps you'll need to take to become a mounted policeman:
Step 1: Meet Prerequisite Requirements
Before enrolling in a police academy, you must meet certain prerequisite requirements. According to the BLS, most states require applicants to be no younger than 21 years old, a high school graduate, and hold a valid state driver's license.
The BLS indicates that police academy applicants may be required to pass drug tests and have a clean criminal record free of felony charges. Most academies also require applicants to pass physical endurance entrance exams. To be eligible for the endurance exams, applicants must be deemed physically fit by a licensed physician. Some police academies may reject applicants who have disabilities, such as deafness or severe vision problems, as these disabilities would impede officers from completing their duties.
Step 2: Complete Police Academy
Basic police academy programs involve hands-on training as well as classroom instruction.
Common courses may include:
- Defensive tactics
- Patrol operations
- Firearms techniques
- Interrogation tactics
- Defensive driving
- Criminal law. Most police academy programs also require students to participate in extensive physical fitness exercises on a daily basis.
Step 3: Build General Police Experience
Information from the BLS shows that new police officers must gain a few years of on-the-job experience before being eligible to join special units, such as the mounted police officer unit. After completing probationary periods under the supervision of experienced officers, new officers are assigned to individual departments, such as narcotics, vice, or property crimes. Some officers may stay in one department for several years, but other officers may transfer around, depending on the needs of each department.
Volunteer to work with mounted units. Although new police officers may not have the experience to join mounted police officer units, new officers can volunteer to work in tandem with mounted units. For example, most mounted police officers provide crowd control at events. New officers can volunteer to work with mounted units at these events by either patrolling around the area on foot or in squad cars.
Step 4: Go Through Horseback Training
Experienced officers can apply to join mounted units. Some units may require that applicants have some prior experience with horses. Upon being accepted into the unit, officers must go through horseback training. The duration of training programs vary depending on the amount of experience each applicant has with horses.
The first part of training includes:
- Learning horse riding skills
- Horse behavior
- Animal transportation
- Equine health
The second part of training covers policing skills on horseback, such as:
- Mounted search and rescue procedures
- Crowd control tactics
- Mounted firearms
To become a mounted policeman, you'll need to meet any entrance requirements, complete the police academy, gain police experience, and then train to be in a mounted unit.