Saddle Up and Ride for the Inauguration

USPP mounted unit.

The U. S. Park Police Horse Mounted Unit trains for the upcoming inauguration. NPS photo.

The upcoming inauguration continues to attract a lot of attention, and a recent article in Traveler reported on some of the preparations for what could be a record crowd for such events. Plenty of work continues to take place behind the scenes, and some of the government representatives who are training for the big day aren't even human.

The United States Park Police Horse Mounted Unit, in conjunction with assisting agencies, gathered at the Edgewater Training Facility in Rock Creek Park on December 3rd to conduct crowd management training in anticipation of the upcoming inauguration.

Participating agencies include the members of the National Park Service, the Metropolitan Police, the Maryland National Capital Park Police (Prince George’s County Division), Prince William County, and Park Police HMP officers from the New York Field Office.

The training began with a systematic warm-up that allows the horses and the riders to get accustomed to the other horses and stretch their muscles. Once they were ready, role players were utilized to simulate the effects of large crowds surrounding the officers on their mounts. They also practiced moving crowds in the event of an emergency. A USPP spokesman stated the the training was a success, and will help ensure the officers and their mounts will work well together for the inauguration.

The United States Park Police Horse Mounted Unit is one of the oldest established police equestrian units in the United States. Established in 1934 with one horse that was rented from a local stable, the unit now provides protection for NPS sites in the Washington Metropolitan Area as well as New York City and San Francisco.

Mounted officers have proven their value as an effective tool in managing large crowds on numerous occasions. They are especially useful in the nation's capital for major events such as the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Christmas Pageant of Peace, the Presidential Inauguration and large demonstrations.

Following a series of large-scale violent demonstrations in the 1970s, a new emphasis was placed on developing training for the mounted police officer. The U. S. Park Police Mounted training program includes a 400-hour curriculum that has evolved into a program that is known and respected worldwide.

Horse mounted officers will be used throughout the National Mall during the upcoming inauguration. The officers mounted on horseback will have a commanding view of the crowd as they patrol and their height will allow visitors to easily identify and reach an officer for assistance. Their presence will be a valuable asset in the effort to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for everyone who attends this event.