Increased Mounted Patrols Follow Rash of Purse Snatchings
Lieutenant Bob Anderson and Agent Bruce Smith held a meeting with Asian Business owners at First Bank on Duarte Road. The meeting was held at the request of council candidate Sho Tay after a recent rash of robberies at Presidents Square Shopping Center.
Arcadia Police officer, Agent Bruce Smith spoke about the depts. mounted unit’s responsibilities and plans. Smith is an accomplished equestrian who is well known for patrolling Arcadia aboard his horse Ringo when not in his patrol car. Smith was quick to point out that plans have been in the works for a while about increasing the mounted police patrols and that the recent rash of robberies and the timing of this announcement was coincidence.
Agent Smith said that he’s aware that some in the Asian business community may be reluctant to talk with and/or trust Arcadia police officers due to cultural differences but assured those in attendance that the police in Arcadia are here to serve the public and that police powers are entirely different from those in communist China.
Having said that, Smith went on to describe the duties of the mounted enforcement team in detail while showing slides of the various events the horses and their riders attend, including Santa Anita Race Track when in session.
The mostly volunteer Mounted Enforcement Team (the officers are paid for their duty time but the horses and their care are private responsibility) is involved in a large number of civic ceremonies as well as police matters.
The use of horses is common in larger cities like New York but often small cities don’t have a budget for such luxuries. This is where Bruce Smith’s love of horses has come in handy for the department and community at large.
The mere presence of a mounted officer has an immediate effect in certain situations and is also an excellent public relations tool. "Nobody ever wants to come up and pet my Patrol Car," Smith quipped.
Two officers and two civil patrol officers (volunteers) operate the mounted unit and as we said earlier are funded by private donations. The officers are equipped with radios that are connected directly with dispatch in the event of any emergency. "We want to do everything we can…I understand that horses are good luck in Chinese culture."
One reporter asked about the potential problems with the horse poop. As the laughter died down, Agent Smith explained that these horses are highly trained but do occasionally "poop" when nervous or excited in a new situation. He assured the business owners that this is not a particularly big problem as the horses get use to people and they have ways of dealing with the droppings.
The teams, which will consist of two horses, plan on starting patrol in the shopping center February 20. This will perhaps also extend over to other shopping centers in the future.