Duluth Police Department Growing Mounted Patrol Unit

Four officers are training to hit the streets with their horses downtown in May

ESKO, Minn. – For years, the Duluth Police Department’s mounted patrol protected the street’s downtown during the busy summer months.

After a 10 year absence, visitors and residents were excited to see the officers and their horses brought back in 2014.

The safety to visitors downtown Duluth is one of the main priorities to the police department, so when it lost two members from the mounted patrol last year, the decision was made to get even more officers trained and on the streets.

“It’s just a new brand of policing, something different for me,” said Bob LeClaire, an officer training with the mounted patrol. “Something exciting, something to get me out of a squad car.”

Since January, the Duluth Police Department has been training four of its officers to become part–time members the mounted patrol unit.

“This is my first experience with horses, learning about them and learning how to ride them,” said Mike Jambor, an officer training with the horses. “It’s really rewarding. It’s a lot of hard work. A lot of hours go in to this, but it’s rewarding to come to work with these guys every day.”

Hours of practice, learning to control the 2,000 pound animals they’ll be working with on the streets of Duluth.

“You’re sore at the end of the day,” said Leclaire. “It’s frustrating, rewarding, exciting, terrifying at times.”

The officers come to the River Ranch Arena in Esko a few times each week to train.

“It’s fun to see these guys when they started and watch them each time they train get better and better and watch their confidence build with the horses,” said Craig Lindberg, a current member of the mounted patrol.

From starting with the basics of proper riding technique, the officers are now on to advanced sensory work with the horses. Training also includes getting the horses acclimated to a variety of noises, including a cap gun and a running ATV.

“There are so many things that go along with riding a horse,” said Jambor. “Giving them the correct cues to get them to do what we want them to do is not an easy thing.”

The mounted patrol gives the department a better view of large crowds during the warmer months. It’s an added way to keep Duluth safe.

 

“Our unit is really good for the community aspect as well,” said Amber Peterson, a Duluth police officer. “It’s easy for people to approach us and the community really enjoys having the unit around”

Bringing a piece of the department’s past back to the streets.

“When I was a child, one thing I remember when we visited Duluth as a family was the mounted unit that would be down in Canal Park. It’s part of the history of this agency. It’s really neat to be a part of that and be part of the small group who say they remember that unit and carry on that history within the agency.”

The officers will continue training for the next few weeks before spending time learning patrol tactics with the Minneapolis Police Department’s mounted patrol.

The new officers and their horses will hit the streets of Duluth in May.

 

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