Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight would like to see some of his officers riding high in the saddle this summer. The city is negotiating with Howard County horse owners to lease their steeds for special events.
“We won’t be housing them,” said Goodnight. “We’re not going to build stables. We’re not even going to own the horses.
“We’ll be renting them by the hour for special events and I could see this happening six or 15 times a summer for these special concerts and some of the larger community events.”
Goodnight said at least a dozen officers have signed up for training and may be riding in May.
That’s good news for members of the Kokomo area horse community who are ready to help launch the mounted patrol.
“The horse community, they’re very caring, generous people,” said Mindy Small of Count Your Blessings Ranch on Dixon Road, just inside the city’s southwest limits. “If you need something, they’re always there for you. I don’t think it would be difficult to get people to donate or volunteer their horses or donate their equipment until this thing is off the ground.”
At Small’s ranch is Dancer, an 8-year-old gelding, who would be perfect for the police assignment according to his owner.
“This is what they should be looking for,” said Terri Wright as she fed Dancer an alfalfa cube from her hand, “a very calm horse of some size.
“They are bomb proof,” she said. “They just don’t get too excited about anything. They look very impressive because they’re big but smart and they really pick up on riders and what the rider is thinking and they make a wonderful horse for any kind of public work.”
Goodnight said his city budget is balanced with a 15 percent reserve in the bank and could easily afford the horse force.
Indianapolis is home to the state’s only mounted police force. As the city’s public safety budget is facing 5 percent cuts for the foreseeable future, officials are examining the effectiveness and fiscal stability of the mounted patrol.