Captain Michael Craighead
The Philadelphia Police Mounted Unit is steep in history and tradition and has been an effective unit in many facets of police work within the City of Philadelphia. Mounted officers are ideal in many different situations. In high traffic areas such as protests, parades and sporting events, horses can provide police officers with surveillance from a vantage point higher than any officer on foot or in a vehicle. This vantage point helps an officer to better survey further expanses of crowd activity.
Horses can be used as a "moving wall" to direct crowds or as a barrier to separate individuals. Given the slower speed at which a mounted officer moves through an area, they may be better able to detect threats when compared to faster moving vehicles. Mounted officers are excellent for promoting community relations. Their slower progression through a neighborhood makes them more visible and approachable to the community. Adults and children, alike, are often drawn to the horses and their officers. The opportunity to engage with civilians who may otherwise shy away from a uniformed officer allows the mounted patrol to strengthen community relationships.