KC mayor suggests bringing back mounted patrol to help with large gatherings following Chicago parade shooting

A photo of the Wichita Police Department’s Mounted Unit.
A photo of the Wichita Police Department’s Mounted Unit.(KWCH)
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 8:37 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on Tuesday morning suggested the police department should consider bringing back its mounted patrol unit, which was disbanded over two years ago to fill staffing for other violent crime divisions.

“As more challenges present themselves in entertainment districts and mass gatherings locally and nationally, it’s worthwhile for our police department to consider reinstatement of our horse-mounted patrol units, which enhance security and visibility for our crowds.

Horse-mounted officers had been part of the Kansas City Police Department for 13 years before they were disbanded in January 2020. As the city’s homicide rate climbed, then-Chief Rick Smith had decided to staff up the department’s Homicide Unit and other violent crime divisions. The popular mounted patrol division was disbanded, with eight officers going to the Homicide Unit. The horses were returned to their owners. At the time, KCPD was trying to fill 42 additional vacant police officer positions.

The department had used the mounted patrol for crowd control during large gatherings and events. The horses became a staple for relations between the police and people on the ground, with children and families often going out of their way to interact with the mounted patrol officers. The department had allocated $649,000 out of the year’s budget for the unit.

At the time, Kansas City had just finished its second-deadliest year on record, with 151 homicides recorded in 2019. That number was only surpassed by the 153 homicides in 1993 during the height of the crack epidemic. Kansas City’s deadliest year on record later happened in 2021, when 157 homicides were recorded. The current year is keeping pace just below that number.

A gunman at a Chicago-area Fourth of July parade opened fire on the crowd Monday, killing at least six people and wounding at least 30 in Highland Park, IL.