NOPD recently added a couple of new (long) faces to the department, and two more are expected within just a few weeks.
Endy and Allie are the newest additions to the NOPD Mounted Unit. The five-year-old Warmbloods are both pregnant – Endy is due at the end of March and Allie is due at the end of April. The two were recently purchased for the Mounted Unit by a generous donor. The mares and their foals represent the foundation of NOPD’s new horse breeding program.
Previously NOPD acquired horses for the Mounted Unit from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The high quality equines were bred and trained to work in chaotic situations similar to those police officers face, including crowd control. NOPD tapped into the rich bloodlines from Angola to start its program when the prison announced it was getting out of the horse business last year. NOPD decided to keep the connection to Angola going with the acquisition of Endy, Allie and a stud horse.
One thing Endy and Allie might miss about Angola is the access to wide open spaces. NOPD doesn’t have a “turnout” area for exercise or grazing, so the horses are relegated to staying in their stables the majority of each day. Horse experts stress the need for outdoor exercise as something that is essential to a horse’s health and well-being.
“Part of the issue we have is the lack of pasture area for the horses,” said Lead Mounted Instructor P/O IV David Waguespack. “We would like to raise enough funds for the Mounted Unit to be able to create and maintain a turnout for the horses.”
The NOPD Mounted Unit remains a vital resource in helping deter criminal activity in the City of New Orleans, and NOPD would like to see more horses in more districts. Housed in stables at City Park, the unit currently consists of 24 horses and 11 officers.
“Our goal is to expand the size and the reach of the Mounted Unit so that the horses and officers are able to patrol additional areas on a regular basis,” said Superintendent Michael S. Harrison. “Right now the horses are primarily used to patrol the French Quarter and Central Business District. We hope to continue to develop the division so that the Mounted Unit will be able to become an integral part of patrols in neighborhoods around the city.”