Mounted police officers face unique risks when it comes to the possibility of on-the-job injuries. You want your officers to have as much protection as possible when they’re on duty, without making their jobs more difficult at the same time. Mounted units are an integral part of crowd control and other urban policing operations, so they won’t be going away any time soon. The question then becomes, how do you offer the best possible protection for mounted patrol officers in every situation? It comes down to having the proper gear for both your officers and their mounts.
Injury Statistics for Police Officer Mounted Units
Researchers at Bond University in Australia, working with US researchers at Cal State-Fullerton and Oklahoma State University, carried out one of the most comprehensive studies ever when it comes to injuries among mounted police officers. They compiled statistics on every on-duty injury sustained by mounted and unmounted officers between 2014 and 2020. The results were published in 2023 in the International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health.
The numbers speak for themselves. We already knew that police officers faced a unique risk of sustaining on-the-job injuries, due to the nature of their work. Police officers in general are about twice as likely to be injured as workers in other physically demanding types of jobs, such as mining. However, these officers have a much higher injury incidence rate when compared to non-mounted police. In fact, mounted officers are 2 to 3 times as likely to be injured on the job each year when compared to non-mounted officers.
The implications of this should be clear to every department that utilizes mounted units as part of its regular duties. These units require specialized equipment to meet the unique demands and risks of their jobs.
Importance of Police Officer Mounted Units
Mounted units still serve vitally important functions in modern urban police departments. Aside from ceremonial duties in parades and other special events, mounted officers are especially crucial when it comes to crowd control incidents.
Due to the combined height of the horse and officer, they have a much larger field of view when dealing with a large civil disturbance. They are able to identify incoming threats and alert ground units due to their field of vision and situational awareness while they are “above the crowd.” Mounted units can quickly intervene to break up fights or disperse a crowd, due to the animal’s size and maneuverability. Many people have an innate fear of large animals, which gives your officers an edge during tense situations.
The advantage that mounted units give you in a crowd-control situation also comes with a downside. Due to their visibility and height, mounted units become a tempting target if an unruly crowd decides to start lobbing projectiles at your officers. If a horse is injured or startled by a projectile, it can make an injury to your officer much more likely. It pays to have as much protection as possible for both the officer and their horse.
How Haven Gear Can Help Your Mounted Units
Haven Gear offers specialty protection gear for police forces, including mounted units. Our Mounted Rider Suit offers unparalleled protection for officers on horseback and is designed specifically to meet the unique needs of these officers.
These molded polypropylene and nylon rider suits are resistant to flames, blunt force strikes, and stabbing. They offer great protection for an officer’s chest and back, upper and lower arms, and thighs and calves. Each suit has integrated hydration and cooling systems, for those long and hot days when dealing with crowd control. The suits can also be outfitted with ballistic or puncture panels on the torso as needed.
We also offer riot protection collars for horses, which attach to the girth and saddle. These protect the horse’s neck from thrown projectiles and other incoming threats.
These horses and officers face unique threats of injury, and need unique solutions to this problem. Browse our catalog of riot suits and other protective gear for police here at Haven Gear, or get in touch with us if you have any questions about our product line.