Author Archive | IMPD Mounted Patrol

IMPD Mounted Patrol suffers loss of one its police horses


On June 6, the IMPD Mounted Patrol and Mounted Horse Patrol Association made the difficult decision to put down one of their police horses. Colonel, who served with the unit for over six years was humanely put to rest because of age and pain.

“He was in a lot of pain, and after much deliberation with the officers, we recognized the best thing for Colonel was to put him to rest,” said Allan Whitesell, Commander for the Unit. “He was a strong horse and strong partner,” said Whitesell.

Colonel came to the Mounted unit in March 2012. He was acquired from a farm in Bloomington, Indiana. Officers who worked with Colonel described his personality as “pleasant and non-fearing”, a demeanor that is a perfect fit for the Unit.

Colonel was a Percheron Thoroughbred cross that stood about 16.2 hands (about 5.5 feet) tall with a weight of 1800 pounds. “He was an incredibly strong horse. It was both intimidating and beautiful at the same time,” said Whitesell.

The IMPD Mounted Horse Patrol Association purchased Colonel and all of the horses for the Mounted Patrol. This arrangement protects horses from City-property auction laws when horses reach the end of their useful life or begin suffering from age and illness.

The Unit’s herd is increasingly aged, with an average age of about 15 years. The Association will now turn to the difficult task of replacing Colonel. Training expenses for a new horse is also supported by the non-profit Association. If you would like to support the Unit and help purchase a new horse, donate to the IMPD Mounted Horse Patrol Association at


The Indianapolis Metropolitan Horse Patrol Association, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the continued funding and success of the Indianapolis Mounted Patrol Unit. The Horse Patrol Association is led by a 14-member board of directors. The HPA helps raise money to fund healthcare, food, shelter, equipment, and training for both officers and horses. To learn more about the HPA, its fundraising efforts, and more about its programming, visit

RTV6: IMPD Mounted Patrol still in search of a permanent home after 35 years of service

Mayor Hudnut proposing IMPD Mounted Patrol

RTV6 has a look back at 30+ years of footage about the formation and location of the Mounted Patrol:

With a picture in hand and an ear-to-ear grin, Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut announced the formation of a mounted patrol unit in December, 1982.

Hudnut spoke optimistically about the patrol’s potential impact on the city saying, “We feel that once officers have been trained and the horses have been trained and they are all on duty… there will be not only increased law enforcement, but also a real stimulus to downtown commercial activity.  This is something that is not a frill, but an essential addition to IPD law enforcement activity.”

The videos they’ve uncovered show Mayor Hudnut was right about the Unit filling an essential law enforcement activity. The Unit is increasingly the most highly-visible law enforcement presence Downtown, in parks, and sometimes the only presence on trails and bikeways.

Despite the benefits and Mayor Hudnut’s upbeat leadership, the Unit still lacks a permanent home. The Mounted Horse Patrol Association is conducting preliminary research and planning for a new facility on the near-west side of Indianapolis. You can learn more about the plans and donate to support the Unit here.

Throwback to 1979: The Ladies of the Mounted Patrol Cookbook

Ladies of the Mounted Patrol CookbookIn the 1970’s the Indianapolis Police Department had plenty of patrol cars. Mounted Units seemed a relic of a bygone era. Then, like today, the Unit raised funds to help support itself.

One of the early fundraisers was in 1979. “The Ladies of the Indianapolis Mounted Patrol” released a cookbook containing over a hundred recipes. The cookbook sits in the Central Library’s Indianapolis Room collection.

In it are delightful recipes like this one for Candy Reese Cups:

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 oz. of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 stick paraffin wax

    Mean peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Roll into small balls. Stick with toothpicks and chill. Usually put them on waxed paper on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler. Melt paraffin in separate pan. Mix together very well. Keen in double boiler over low heat. Dip peanut butter ball in chocolate. Chill until ready to serve.

And three variations on meatloaf, including Edna Askren’s “Best Ever Meat Loaf”:

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 2/3 cup evaporated milk

    Mix all lightly but thoroughly. Press lightly into loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours. Cool 5-10 minutes before removing from pan. Serves 6-8.

IMPD Mounted Patrol CookbookThe book is authored by Mrs. Betty Capp, Mrs. Doris Fletcher, Mrs. Donna Southern, Mrs. Donna Dellen, and Mrs. Charles Schorling, among other contributors.

The Board Officers at the time were Thomas Capp, President. Wayne Ambrous, Vice-President, James Sloan, Secretary, and Robert Ferrell, Treasurer. Nine other members of the Board served with them.

Unfortunately, sales of the cookbook weren’t enough. The unit disbanded in 1980. Relatively little Downtown foot traffic coupled with shrinking budgets forced the City and Police Department to devote more to patrol cars. In 1983, however, the unit was formally returned after Downtown business leaders raised funds to support the Unit. They saw the missing difference in safety and visibility from their storefront windows. Today, the Unit patrols Downtown daily, along with the city’s trails, parks, convention, and visitor districts.

If you’d like to help The Ladies of the Mounted Patrol and recognize their efforts, make a donation in their honor below.

The cookbook, which contains appetizers, pickles, soups, salads, side dishes, bread, rolls, pastries, main dishes, and beverages is available to view at Central Library as reference material.

Riding with the Mounted Patrol, by WISH TV


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Each and every week Dick Wolfsie shares an interesting and exciting story that has a special connection to central Indiana.

This week, Wolfsie stopped to have a visit with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Mounted Patrol unit at their Central City campus.

Continue watching at and watch Colonel take his final ride in the IMPD Mounted Unit

Thanks to you the IMPD Horse Patrol Association raised over $25,000

We couldn’t have done it without you!

The IMPD Mounted Horse Patrol Association raised $25,204 at Polo at Sunset on Aug. 25. Funds will benefit the officers and horses that make up the IMPD Mounted Patrol. We hope you had a fantastic experience.

We have many people to thank, including you, for this successful event.

  • Thank you to Greg and Donna Chandler who own Hickory Hall Polo Club. Did you know they host fundraising events weekly? This was the first-ever sell out event at Hickory Hall Polo Club with 1,200 attendees.
  • Our event sponsors Booth Dermatology and Cosmetics and The Stutz Business Center provided support that is immensely appreciated.
  • Special thanks to Dave and Laura Kane for dropping candy from their personal plane during halftime. The candy drop was a lot of fun for the hundreds of kids in attendance.
  • The Horse Patrol Association and the Mounted Patrol officers would like to thank Melissa Coxey, DeWitt & Shrader, P.C., Benny Diggs, Tom Godby, Halstead Architects, Hilltop Farms Excavating, Chris Golightly, JH Ventures, William Mirola, MS Companies, Stephen Park, Jean Parsons, Bill & Susie Powers, Missy Roetter, Southside Harley-Davidson, The Stutz, Terry Lee Honda, and Traders Point Hunt for their sponsorships via tailgate boxes.

A final thank you to everyone who attended, donated money, bid on silent auction items, and pledged support to the Horse Patrol Association and its work. A 2018 Polo at Sunset event is in the works. Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on our work and next year’s event.

With many thanks,

The IMPD Mounted Horse Patrol Association, Officers, and Horses

President, Turner Woodard

Vice President, John Ball

Secretary, Clayton Morgan

Treasurer, Jean Parsons

Sally Booth

Heather Fortune

Tom Godby

Chris Golightly

Sergio Gonzalez-Piriz

Mike Halstead

Steve Park

Bill Powers

Susie Powers

Joe Robinson

Missy Roetter

Bob Thomas

Sgt. Allan Whitesell, Unit Cmdr.

Ofcr. Ivy Craney

Ofcr. Denny Gerald

Ofcr. Jason Palumbo

Ofcr. Lorie Phillips

Ofcr. Chad Pryce

Ofcr. Luke Schmitt

Civilian Alice Stires, Hostler

IMPD Mounted Patrol Horses: Buzz, Cody, Colonel, Dusty, Jake, Maddie, and Stretch

Officers Jimmy Parent and Ed Zehner dismount for the final time

Ed Zehner

Ed Zehner

Two of IMPD Mounted Patrol’s officers dismounted for the final time. Officially retiring on February 23rd, Officer Jimmy Parent and Ed Zehner retired at a short ceremony in front of the City-County Building on the afternoon of February 22, 2017.

Zehner is retiring after a 23-year career in law enforcement that started with the Indianapolis Police Department, which later became the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “I worked the night shift in the the east district for 11 years, from 7 pm to 3:30 am. We were always real busy, taking a lot of calls,” said Zehner, who also spent time in SWAT.

Zehner, who had never ridden a horse before joining the Mounted Patrol, joined the unit in 2003. “At first it was intimidating, and I got thrown off once and broke my wrist,” he said. “I was off two months recovering from that, but Sgt. [Steve] Park, who was the trainer at the time, got me riding again. I credit him with teaching me everything I know about horses and how to feel good riding,” said Zehner.

Zehner recalls other perilous times, like the annual Black Expo event in 2010. “I can remember being by the loading dock near Steak-n-Shake. This guy opened fire and shot nine people, but we were right on top of that. At first I was afraid we were targets since we were so high up and vulnerable, but we train ourselves and our horses to turn and run into a crowd. We had the best vantage point and saw the suspect take off in the crowd. We followed him and were on the radio to foot officers who apprehended him a short while later,” said Zehner with a slight pause. “I had been shot at before back when I was on SWAT,” said Zehner, “But we train for it.”

Officer Parent, Changing of the Officer

Jimmy Parent dismounting at the Changing of the Officer ceremony

That time on SWAT is where Zehner met Officer Jimmy Parent. Parent, a 31-year veteran of law enforcement moved with his then-fiancee to Indianapolis from Columbia, South Carolina in the early 90’s. Parent has 29 years of experience with IMPD and 18 years on the Mounted Patrol.

“When I first came to the unit, I had no experience with horses at all. The training I went through with [Sgt.] Steve Park was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do. It wasn’t easy, but you go through three months of training and five hours of riding a day, and it eventually clicks in your head,” said Parent.

Parent recalls fond memories of participating in the Inaugural parade of George W. Bush in 2004. “I consider that a real highlight,” he said. Parent added, “It was an honor to ride in the police memorial in Washington, D.C., too. We try to attend every year, and there’s a point when you ride by all the family members of people who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. You see the kids, often very young, and they smile as the horse rides by. That makes it all worth it because you brought a bit of happiness with you,” said Parent.

Parent says he has no significant plans for retirement except to spend more time with his wife, Lynne, and five children. Zehner is moving into a full-time job operating a local landscaping business.

Both Parent and Zehner say they’ll miss the same thing: the camaraderie with their colleagues. “It’s going to take an adjustment,” said Zehner. “For 20 years I got paid to a ride a horse. Not a bad gig,” said Parent.

View more photos from the Changing of the Officer event on Facebook

Mounted Patrol greets and protects everyone at anti-Trump protest

What exactly was the Indianapolis Mounted Patrol doing at the anti-Trump rally in Indianapolis? See how their training prepared them and what techniques were used.

INDIANAPOLIS – On November 12, 2016, organized protesters of President-Elect Donald Trump marched across Downtown. It’s a lawful display of their constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful demonstration. Protestors – of all parties and sides – started on the south lawn of the Indiana State House around 6:00 p.m. and marched toward Monument Circle around 8:30 p.m.

While every citizen has a right to peaceful, organized, assembly, the police carry a responsibility to ensure their safety and the safety of others. Police don’t appear at a protest to just pay attention to the protestors. Police must maintain traffic control for other citizens who are not part of the protest and are simply walking or driving through an area. Police must also protect the property and assets of businesses along a route, especially one as dense as Capitol Avenue, Washington Street, and Meridian Street.

We know from experience “mob mentality” can settle into any crowd quickly. Police must also read a crowd, help them demonstrate safely, and prevent people who wish to turn to violence from doing so.

In this footage from RTV6, it shows IMPD Mounted Patrol moving quickly
into the crowd

This footage also shows police action from officers on foot, in squad cars,
and on bicycles

Officers on all forms of transportation are necessary in any rally, march, or demonstration. The Mounted Patrol is perhaps the most uniquely suited for this kind of police work.

As seen in the footage from RTV6 and others on YouTube, Mounted Patrol officers have some unique advantages and responsibilities:

  • The ability to sit as high as 11 feet off the ground, giving more visibility to officers, both to see and be seen. They are frequently the eyes for other officers in the area.
  • The ability to move quickly. In the footage, Mounted Patrol units are seen moving quickly into the crowd. It may look aggressive, but Mounted Patrol horses are trained to use follow officer commands and use their entire body to form a moving wall. Here, officers are working to keep people flowing on the agreed-upon route.
  • Mounted units are trained to gently push people, and if necessary, insert themselves into a violent situation. An example being two individuals fighting where a Mounted Patrol unit will physically walk between the two to break it up. Police horses, like officers, face danger when doing that. Like “Dan”, the police horse who was openly slapped at a similar rally in Kansas City, Missouri.

There’s also another impact that doesn’t get much coverage. Throughout the night, and daily on patrols around Indianapolis, people walk up to the Mounted Patrol. They want to meet the horses, learn their names, pet them, and just say hello. Mounted units are just as human – and equine – as the next person, or horse. It’s a friendly face from officers and horses in a large crowd.

There was no property damage that night. Two IMPD officers were hurt after rocks were thrown, but not severely. Just seven people were arrested, three of which were from out of town. And hundreds of people got to see what the Indianapolis Mounted Patrol has trained for and does every day.

Mounted Patrol welcomes three new recruits in the first and largest increase in 8 years

IMPD Mounted Patrol welcomed three new recruits into their ranks earlier this year. It’s the first time in eight years the Mounted Patrol has opened the process of recruiting new officers and one of the largest increases in new officers for the Mounted Patrol at one time in its history.

Ivalee Craney comes to the Mounted Patrol from the ranks of IMPD. A ten-year street veteran of IMPD, she also has thirty years of experience with horses. “When I saw the opening for Mounted Patrol I stepped up and applied. It’s a dream position to combine my career with my passion for horses,” she said.

Officers Schmitt, Craney, and Pryce

From left to right, Officers Luke Schmitt, Ivalee Craney, and Chad Pryce

Craney’s love of horses extends back to the tender age of four when she first started riding. “Back then Fort Benjamin Harrison was still an active military base and they had a physical therapy riding program for military families. My sister being handicapped she was part of that program. My mom made friends with a volunteer who worked with the horses and I’ve been riding ever since,” says Craney. She was even able to have her own horse at the age of fourteen and began a young career in 4-H and horse shows.

Joining Craney in her cohort is Luke Schmitt, a twenty-three-year veteran of IMPD with sixteen years working narcotics. “I came to Indianapolis in 1990 to IUPUI to finish my college education and I got on the IU Police Department from 1990-1994. I applied to several departments around the area, but I wanted to get on at  [the Indianapolis Police Department] because it had a Mounted Patrol unit,” says Schmitt. Schmitt was ultimately hired full-time by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

When IPD and the Sheriff’s Department merged to become the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in 2007, Schmitt came along and jumped at the first opening to join Mounted Patrol. A self-professed “horse-crazy kid”, Schmitt says with a laugh, “I have three brothers all within four years of age of each other. My dad had a horse and when mom got pregnant with my fourth brother, it was either the horse or the baby that had to go. We voted for the baby, but the horse won out.”

Third, Chad Pryce is also a ten-year veteran of IMPD. “My grandfather had horses when I was real little. He was a part of the Shriner’s back then and rode horses. I always looked up to him for that.” Pryce has spent time in the Academy recently and each have undergone intense training since joining Mounted Patrol this past April. Their friendship for each other is palpable if you see them together. “School is very hard. It’s long riding days, but we’re all good friends now. The comradery has really bonded us well,” says Pryce.

Schmitt adds, “I always thought you just got on a horse and rode. Here in training we’ve learned dressage, an English-type training where you learn to be a really good rider. There’s more than just hanging on and going.” Each recruit to the Mounted Patrol learns cues, how to form a rhythm with their horse, leg use, balance, and combining that with police tactics for things like crowd control. “I enjoy the new aspect of bringing police work into the horses,” says Craney, continuing, “a lot of people coming here probably are used to quarter horses, but we’re dealing with giants at 500 pounds or more. Instead of those tiny feet they have dinner plates.”

Craney spends much of her time riding with Stretch, which she describes as “a total ladies’ man”. “He’s Mr. Personality for sure. He became my number one pick and I’m fortunate to ride him. He likes to play around and likes the ladies…but I didn’t teach him that,” she says with laughter.

Schmitt hasn’t fully settled on his primary horse, but has spent much of his time with Finn. “He’s new and young and inexperienced, but very willing and is learning. I like the challenge of young horses,” he says. “He’s got a ways to go, but he’ll get there. He’s curious, respectful, and needs some time.”

Pryce has selected Jake as his primary horse, one with just as much experience in the police force as Pryce does. “Jake is a people-pleaser. Him and I bonded pretty quick. He’s kind of a nervous horse by nature, but he likes to learn and has great work ethic. He’s been here twelve years and knows the routine. He wants to make sure I’m pleased with him and he loves to work, but he loves his days off, too. He makes that abundantly clear to me,” says Pryce.

“This job differs from everything we came from,” says Pryce. “Luke was in Narcotics. Ivy and I hit the streets every day. We responded to people’s worse days every day. This is the complete opposite. We get to see people at their best. We get to build a bridge for the department and meet people from across the city and world. After ten years of narcotics and bad accidents, this is a breath of fresh air.”

Craney says, “We hold two very important roles even though they intertwine. A lot of people who don’t come Downtown or on a trail don’t know we’re around,” she says. Recently the Mounted Patrol has begun to increase patrols in high-crime neighborhoods, suburban settings, on campuses at IUPUI, the University of Indianapolis and soon, Butler University.

Schmitt adds, “I want people to know in this time of tight budgets and money, it does take a little bit to fund a unit like this. A lot of people might see it as a waste. But we’re such a vital ambassador for the City. To be a world-class city, we’re something people from out of town don’t see in their cities. We’re more approachable than someone in a squad car with the windows up.” He continues, “Plus, if things go bad on our daily routine patrols, we’re worth any little cost. The rewards outweigh any of that to be the ambassador for the City and people of Indianapolis.”

After 27 years, Harold Davis retires as Indianapolis’ longest-serving mounted patrol officer

In 1986 a mounted horse patrol unit dutifully sauntered by the American Fletcher National Bank [Now J.P. Morgan Chase] on Monument Circle around noon. Standing inside the bank was Harold Davis, an affable, unapologetically polite man. Until that moment he wasn’t even aware Indianapolis even had a mounted patrol unit. But at that moment, gazing out toward the officer and his horse as they trotted by, he said to himself, “If I was in the police department, that’s what I’d love to do.”

Three years later Davis would join the Indianapolis Police Department and three years after that he’d apply for and be accepted to the Indianapolis Mounted Patrol. “I always knew what I wanted to do when I started my career, and I achieved that,” he says.

Twenty-seven years later you’d expect him to have scary or crazy stories from the day-to-day job of a police officer, but he recalls none of them specifically. “There’s a bunch,” he says, “but the story I love the most involves my partner [of 15 years] Jason Palumbo. We always rode together. The horse he rode was Jake, a big white horse. I gave him the nickname “The Lone Ranger”. We’d talk to people and laugh about it and I told people I was “Bobo” because it rhymed with “Tonto”,” Davis says with a chuckle.

Adding, “About three years ago we were patrolling on the north side near Fox Hill and there was this lady with a big five-acre yard. She saw us on the horses and waved us over. “We don’t want to ride across the grass”, we said, but she said it was okay. Her granddaughter of about 21 and sister were home. We said we were the Lone Ranger and Bobo. A few years later we were working Black Expo and someone behind us yelled out, “Lone Ranger and Bobo!”. We turned and saw it was that young lady we spoke to three years earlier who remembered us.”

Back when Davis joined the Mounted Patrol in 1989 the unit was slightly larger than it is today. “We never had more than 12 officers and if we had 12 we had about 14 or 15 horses. Back then we used quarter horses, but they were a good size. We always wanted them to be at least 16 hands,” says Davis.

Officer Davis with Dusty

Ret. Officer Harold Davis with Dusty

Once Davis joined the unit he stayed with Mounted Patrol through the rest of his career, culminating in his retirement just last month. “I was one of the last ones to retire from that time. No one else was still on the force,” says Davis. At 27 years, Davis holds the longest tenure for a Mounted Patrol officer. His former sergeant, Steve Park, was there for 26 years before returning to the police department 7 years ago.

A lot of things about Indianapolis and IMPD have changed since then. “A lot of visitors and residents had never seen a horse in a city before. When they saw it they just knew they had to come up to us,” says Davis, adding, “Our objectives expanded, originally from public relations to crowd control and even traffic management.” When the RCA Dome was still in use by the Colts, Mounted Patrol units would direct traffic from atop their horses. “We’d stand up in the middle of Capitol Street and direct traffic coming by. There are times I remember large tour buses would come by so close I’d have to lean my head and body to avoid their mirrors. But the horses would just stand there. We have some really well-trained horses.”

Davis assisted with training the horses for years and eventually took over full-time after Sgt. Park retired. “We were known as the “ambassadors of the police department” because everyone seemed to love the Mounted Patrol – specifically the horses – and if you were on the horse you understood that and you tried put on a good show.”

Davis trained his first horse, Sam, to do the electric slide, which was frequently a favorite show of passers-by on city streets. He also helped train Lightning to do the same, a horse that would later appear on The Late Show with David Letterman during “Stupid Pet Tricks”. “We were originally going to take two horses, but only took one,” says Davis. “We command the horse with our legs, so much of what the horse is don’t isn’t always clear to people. Do it fast enough and you get a horse that can move smoothly.”

Davis himself trained across North America and about 25 years ago even trained with the Canadian Royal Mounted Police. “They trained us to jump six feet up on the horses. I never thought I’d go over jumps that high, but when I did it felt good to do it. I look back and really enjoyed that.”

Davis has been married to his wife Lizzy for 20 years, who will also be retiring from her job in 3-4 years. Their son, 16, and daughter, 17 will soon graduate high school. “I want to see the country”, he says, adding, “I want to take a train trip out west and see the mountains. I’ve never really spent much time traveling west, and when I have I’ve flown or driven. I just want to sit back and relax and gaze out the window.”

As he looks forward to gazing out that train window, he remembers gazing out the window of the bank at a mounted unit on the Circle in 1986. “The roles were reversed years later. I remember being on the Circle where we’d let the horses drink water. And there was a young black man who came up to me and he looked up at me on the horse. He said “I didn’t know”. “You didn’t know what?” I asked. “I didn’t know a black man could ride a horse.”

Davis continues, “This was something I never thought too much about. Then I realized he was serious. And I told him, “This is the one thing I always want you to know. You can do anything whether you’re black, white, green or yellow. You can do anything you set your mind to.” I saw that kid again five years after that and he remembered everything and reminded me of it. That was always kind of a good thing because I was the only black person on the patrol. Even if they didn’t remember my name, as long as they could remember I was a black officer on the horse patrol, they could find me.”

“I take a lot of pleasure in that,” he says.