The newest horse in the Denver Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit is awaiting a name. The 5-year-old horse, currently being called “Blue,” visited the neighborhood last month with his 18-year-old big buddy, “Jackson.” In an event scheduled for April 18, students at Isabella Bird Community School will get a chance to suggest permanent names for Blue, according to Lt. Ian Culverhouse of District 5, who recommended the school for the unique honor. The final selection of a name will occur on May 2.
The two horses and their officers, Kim Quintana and Matt Peltier, were a welcome sight to neighborhood kids and parents alike in their recent circuit of the Eastbridge neighborhood. But the patrol can be found virtually anywhere in the city, according to Officer Quintana, a veteran of the unit. “We go everywhere. It used to be just downtown, but now we cover the whole city.”
Comprised of three officers and six horses, the patrol is adept in crowd control situations and has worked a variety of events—from protests by Occupy groups to the jubilant celebrations of the Broncos Super Bowl parade, where they got to ride right behind “Thunder.” They also participate in many public relations events—senior citizens’ centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, holiday events and the annual Stock Show.
They look forward to patrolling neighborhoods—in the Eastbridge neighborhood of Stapleton, Officers Quintana and Peltier found, unsurprisingly, a number of open garage doors on their recent visit. The height of an officer on a horse is useful in neighborhood patrols because they are able to see over fences, and the horses can travel on bike paths and off-road areas that patrol cars can’t reach during their four- to five-hour shifts.
Quintana is worried about the future of the unit, though. While the city supports aspects of the program such as equipment and maintenance, the mounted patrol relies upon private generosity. Their longtime benefactor is retired schoolteacher Betty Robertson, who has personally bought the last 10 horses—all geldings—for the Mounted Patrol. The 89-year-old entered assisted living recently, however, and the future of the program is uncertain. “We would love more community support,” said Quintana. Robertson will personally attend the naming ceremonies at Izzi B, and perhaps her example will inspire others.
ALERT FROM POLICE—Denver District 5 police have identified a crime pattern that’s on the rise. An unknown party rings the doorbell to get the resident to their front door. Meanwhile, a second party enters the rear of the residence, either using force or just opening a door or window. The party that entered at the rear takes items and can be in and out before the resident notices. District 5 is actively recruiting new neighborhood watch captains to organize their block and help keep the public informed. If interested, contact VIPS Tracy Korabic at firstname.lastname@example.org.