On June 1st, 1999 Chief Mark Driscoll and the Police Commissioners authorized the formation of a "Mounted Unit". After reviewing the positive impact and success of Mounted Units in other communities across the nation the decision was made to establish our own unit as a component of our Community Policing initiative.
Deputy Chief Robert Duffey and Capt. Dennis Glennon conducted extensive research on policing by mounted units and implementation of a mounted program. With the aide of police officers from other Mounted Units the selection of mounts were made.
Shorty is a thoroughbred and he stands 16 hands tall. He weighs about 1,100lbs. He is a dark chestnut color. Officer Kincaid is his primary rider.
Amigo is a thoroughbred/quarterhorse mix. He stands 16 hands tall and weighs 1,200 lbs. His primary rider is Officer Ahern. Both horses love to eat carrots and apples.
Two officers were also selected as riders. The officers are James Ahern and Kevin Kincaid. Officer Ahern is a 20 year veteran of the police department and has served in the Patrol Division, Juvenile Division and the Crime Prevention Division where he worked as a D.A.R.E. Officer. Officer Kincaid is a 15-year veteran of the Police Department has served in the Patrol division as a K-9 handler, Patrol Officer, firearms instructor and as a Field Training Officer.
After the selection of the mounts and their riders, all four attended training with the Massachusetts State Police Mounted Unit and the Boston Park Rangers Mounted Unit. Officer's Ahern and Kincaid received instruction in many areas ranging from daily care and grooming of mounts, equipment maintenance, to riding skills such as walking, trotting and canting. They were also taught police techniques specific to mounted patrol. Other topics of instruction ranged from crowd control, patrol procedures to riding in parades. The officers and their mounts attended a week long riding course held at UNH specifically designed for Mounted Police.
After completing the training the officers slowly introduced Shorty and Amigo to the city environment. The horses quickly became acclimated to the sights and sounds of our busy city. The horse are capable of working in all weather and all terrains, They patrol the downtown area, parks, schools and areas not easily accessible by conventional means.
One of the main advantages of using a mounted patrol is the enhanced field of view that the officer has due to height advantage. This sight advantage gives the officers the opportunity to make observations of violations that might have gone undetected by an officer in a cruiser. Officer's Ahern and Kincaid have detected many violations on patrol and have taken enforcement action.
Another important aspect of the mounted patrol is the forum that it presents for a dialogue between the police and the community. Amigo and Shorty are attractions for people in the community. People enjoy coming over to visit and pet the horses. This interaction often leads to further exchanges of information between the officers and citizens. The presence of the Mounted Unit has a positive impact on community relations.
Amigo and Shorty have become so popular during patrols that it is sometimes difficult for the officers to get from one place to another without being stopped numerous times by folks who want to visit with them. Their presence has enhanced our community-policing initiative.
Manchester is in the midst of expanding and revitalizing its millyard and downtown areas. This is having a positive impact on the city. As a result there has been an influx of pedestrian traffic in these areas. The versatility of the mounted patrol will play an important role in enforcement and public relations for this segment and other parts of our community. The riders and mounts have a unique ability to mingle with citizens, which will continue to foster positive relations between the police and citizens.
The Mounted Unit conducts exhibitions for schools, nursing homes and other groups requesting their presence. All requests for the mounted unit must come via mail addressed to the Chief of Police. Each visit is tailored to meet the age of attendees.