Members of the mounted police unit in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have been honored for their service following the trouble caused by protesters outside a Donald Trump rally in the city last month.
The award recognised the efforts of the horses, Stryker, aged 15, Edgar, 17, Jake, 15, Rudy, 16, Samson, 12, Max, 15, Romeo, 15, Justice, 4, Nigel, D, and the officers who serve with them.
Mayor Richard Berry bestowed the unit with the City of Albuquerque Friday’s Heroes award.
The unit, he said, had provided outstanding service to protect the citizens and community.
The May 24 Trump rally in the central city saw anti-Trump protesters gather in the streets around the venue.
While most were orderly, some resorted to violence, hurling rocks and bottles at members of the mounted unit.
The horses maintained their composure, despite some suffering minor lacerations from thrown objects.
The city’s mounted unit has served for 39 years.
When the unit was organized in 1977, it comprised one sergeant, five officers, and six horses.
Today, it has one sergeant, two full-time officers, multiple collateral riders, and 10 horses.
The unit is looking for new horses. The police department seeks draft horses due to their calm nature and large size.
Mounted officers are six times more visible than a foot patrol officer, a bike officer, or even a car by towering up to 12 feet above the ground.
Mounted officers enjoy a 360 degree field of vision and, during crowd control functions, one horse is considered the equivalent to 10 officers on foot.
Typically, the mounted unit serves in crime prevention and public relation roles, but their May 24 protest role showed that their foremost duty is to protect public safety.
The award from Mayor Berry was for the unit’s continued dedication to serving and protecting the community.
Officers in the unit are Sergeant Jeremy Bassett, Officer Charles Breeden (full-time), Officer Andy Montoya (full-time), Officer Larry Smyth (collateral/trainer), Officer John Corley (collateral), Officer Julie Maycumber (collateral), Officer Mike Schroeder (collateral), Officer Frank Tafoya (collateral), Officer Mick Rael (collateral), Officer Rob DeBuck (collateral), Officer Erica Lowry (collateral), Officer Tanner Tixier (collateral), and Officer Vince Martinez (collateral).