Search and Rescue: From time to time, the Austin Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit has been called on to assist in searching rural areas or neighborhoods. The situations can vary between searching for a lost child to a dangerous felon. Other searches could be for evidence in a crime or disaster, such as the space shuttle crash.
Homeless Camps: Austin Police Mounted Patrol Officers support Code Enforcement with clearing heavily wooded areas of homeless camps. Code Enforcement contacts private land owners about the homeless inhabiting their land and provides an opportunity to rectify the situation themselves. If the land owner refuses or is unable to clear the land of homeless camps, Code Enforcement is tasked with locating all camps and clearing them. Some of the areas are treacherous and difficult to get to on foot or with all terrain vehicles. Once Mounted Patrol has located the camps, Code Enforcement is notified.
Special presentations: The Austin Police Mounted Patrol Unit is consistently invited to attend school, business, church, and/or community events. Mounted Patrol is very popular with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and is requested to make special presentations to both, throughout the year. In many instances, these groups insist on coming to our facility. Recently, both a Girl Scout Troop and a Home School group insisted on coming to our facility to expand the scope of the presentation to include careers dealing with horses and horses in history. The individuals benefitted from being able to come to the facility as they were able to see more about how a barn is run.
Horse Training: Day shift is when new police mounts are trained and eventually introduced to Downtown. A senior officer with experience and credentials in horses and the department, is responsible for these horses. The police barn has an arena and two round pens, one large and one small. In addition, there are two pasture areas. All of these areas are essential to developing the new horses and are used at specifically determined times.
Rider Training: The Mounted Unit trains as a whole every Wednesday. A senior officer and accomplished rider, is responsible for training the rest of the unit. Training usually takes place in the arena at the barn. The arena is not covered. On rainy days the training must be relocated to the Travis County Expo Center, if permission is granted to use their covered arena.
Hike and Bike Trail and other Parks: Officers assigned to the day shift patrol in the parks and on the Hike and Bike Trail where they are effective at deterring sexual predators, vandalism and tagging, and other criminal activities. The small children with their parents in the parks are especially excited to see Mounted Patrol. While letting the children have a chance to say, “Hi”, to the horses, the parents are usually making us aware of their concerns in the area. The Hike and Bike Trail and the other parks are also an essential part of introducing new horses to their job as a Mounted Police Horse.
Residential Areas: Mounted Patrol patrols residential areas when requested, specifically directed patrol areas. Whenever there is an increase in residential or daytime vehicle burglaries, Mounted Patrol may be dispatched to the area to deter criminals.
Barn duties: At times a stable attendant may not be able to come in, due to injury, illness or vacation. Officers are responsible for taking over these duties on those days.