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Cleveland police mounted unit brings community together

Posted at 7:45 AM, Aug 29, 2016

The officer and horse partnership has a skill set to brag about. 

The Cleveland Police Mounted Unit has been handling what patrol cars can't for well over a hundred years. 

The duties and shifts differ but crowd control downtown for Cavs and Indians games is a big part of the job. 

Spotting a scuffle is no problem for mounted officers.
 
For the RNC that came in handy, with the horses navigating police through thousands of people. 
 
"Having the mounted unit gives police a higher vantage point so if something goes wrong they've got the best view," said Sgt. Mark Medwid.
 
Right now 10 horses make up the mounted unit. For the RNC though, 27 horses—many from out of state—patrolled the streets.

"We were able to cover a lot of ground with a lot of horses," said Medwid. "We had four squads throughout the whole city"

Horses are certainly more approachable than a cop in a patrol car. And the impact in the community is impressive, police officials say.

Countless selfies or simple 'hellos' help break the ice.

Lately, high profile cases involving police dominate national and even local headlines. The need for a solid community connection is obvious.

"Whether it's Public Square or an inner city neighborhood, people approach us," said Medwid. "They see us from along far away, they come up and they talk to us about whatever their issues are"

The mounted unit is supported with both city and private funds. Right now there are no plans to expand but officers want to double the size of the team. They hope, one day, to have 16 or 20 horses to fill the stalls and hit the streets.