Raleigh, NC’s mounted police unit

Ike and Officer J.A. Hood + Willow and Officer Dawn Montemurro | Photo by Raleigh Police

Did you know Raleigh has a mounted police unit? 🐴 We didn’t, until we stumbled upon this Nextdoor post earlier this week. 

The Raleigh Police Department’s Mounted Unit is the only remaining regularly-scheduled mounted police division in the state. The division is considered a special operations unit, and becoming a mounted officer requires more than just an application — first, you must love horses, because their grooming and care is part of the officers’ job. And second, officers must serve in the general service department before applying for a mounted spot. (Curious about opportunities with the RPD? Click here.)

Willow and Ike spotted in Mordecai | Photo by Charlotte Davenport

The horses receive rigorous training too. After a 60-day trial period for all new recruits, police horses receive six to eight months of on-the-job training, including exposure to lights and loud sounds (such as sirens, gunfire, and traffic.)

Who’s on the force? The mounted unit is made up of two horses and their partners — a.k.a. the officers who ride them. If you see them out and about on patrol, be sure to say hello to: Ike and Willow.

🐴 Ike

18.2 hands tall
German Warmblood | buckskin
Gelding | 19 years old

🐴 Willow

16.3 hands tall
Percheron | black
Mare | 14 years old

Horses allow officers to access areas that are inaccessible to motor vehicles, but more quickly and with greater visibility than officers on foot. That’s why you’ll most often see the mounted unit along the Capital Area Greenway trails or at big events where they can facilitate security and crowd control — as well as make a few friends. Mounted unit patrols also provide the RPD with opportunities to connect more directly with the community

And while we’re on the topic… Did you know NC State is the only university in the state with its own campus-based mounted patrol? You can learn more about those horses and officers here.

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