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Mounted Unit


Police mounted units have long served as a valuable asset in law enforcement, offering a unique combination of visibility, mobility, and community engagement. Mounted officers are able to navigate through crowded or difficult terrain with ease, providing an advantageous vantage point for surveillance and crowd control. Beyond their operational capabilities, these units have played a crucial role in fostering positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

The Lexington Police Department's Mounted Unit will allow the department to have an alternative means of police patrol with a 10-foot advantage by providing clear, unobstructed views over crowds, fences and other obstacles. This unit will also be participating in numerous special events that occur annual throughout the city as well as assist surrounding law enforcement jurisdictions, upon request, with their special events. This unit will be trained in crowd control as well as search and rescue tactics, to assist with locating missing, wanted, or lost individuals.

questions & answers

Will officers and horses be specially trained? The Mounted Unit horses are chosen for their maturity and calm demeanor. The horses and riders will be professionally desensitized to city noises and elements, and police trained for crowd control and tactical maneuvers. Both the horses and riders will be trained before being deployed on the city streets in order to ensure the safety of citizens, mounted officers, and horses.

Where will the horses be stabled? The Virginia Horse Center has generously provided a barn that sits toward the back of the property ensuring a quiet, private location for the horses. The horses will be trailered to and from the Virginia Horse Center to the area of the city where they will be riding that day.

Who will care for the horses? The horses are cared for by the officers and volunteers daily. Local veterinarians will provide annual and emergency medical care for the horses when needed.

Will the Mounted Unit only work seasonally as the carriage horses do? The Mounted Unit will work year-round taking into consideration the elements of the environment. Horses will not be taken out when it is too hot, when inclement weather is expected or when roadways are dangerous due to snow/ice coverage.

Is consideration given to Lexington's steep and narrow streets?  Each horse will be evaluated by a qualified farrier to decide the footing needs of each particular horse in order to prevent slippage.

Motorists are aware of pedestrians, bicyclists, and runners on the roadways. A horse is a much larger obstacle that is more visible and easily observed. A motorist can maneuver around a horse, which is not as wide as passing another motor vehicle.

In an effort to increase the alertness and safety of motorists as well as the mounted officers, the department will deploy a message board sign in the area of riding, announcing the use of mounted horses to alert motorists of their presence.

Will the Mounted Unit only be used for patrol and special events? No, the Mounted Unit will also be providing community outreach and engagement by partnering with other organizations in the community such as autism groups, the local community service board, Washington and Lee University, Virginia Military Institute, etc.

How will the Mounted Unit be funded? The public is being asked to donate funds and/or supplies to launch and sustain the Lexington Police Mounted Unit. The department is especially appreciative of the generous donation from the Virginia Horse Center in providing a barn to house the police horses as well as Smith Farms for providing hay and Rockbridge Farmers Coop for providing feed. Bank of the James also sponsors the Mounted Unit annually.

What plans are in place for the longevity of the Mounted Unit? The sustainability of the Lexington Police Mounted Unit relies upon the generous monetary and in-kind donations from the community members the unit serves. Through the Lexington Police Department’s established partnership with residents and business owners throughout the area, and in coordination with a robust and dedicated Mounted Unit Board who are committed to fundraising annually for the care and maintenance of the police horses, we anticipate the Mounted Unit to be a fixed staple for our community and surrounding area.

How can I help? Please contact Pamela Roberson ( regarding monetary and in-kind donations.

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