Author Archive | IMPD Mounted Patrol

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

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 WISHTV.com 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.

Tom Godby envisions a future where the Mounted Patrol is the face of IMPD

Tom Godby’s surname is one many Indianapolis residents likely recognize immediately. Affixed to a fleet of Godby Heating and Air vans that roam central Indiana, Tom Godby built a heating and air conditioning business when only 20% of homes had air conditioning. His life has been filled with “blessings, luck, and some skill” according to the man himself, “but mostly just being in the right place at the right time.”

Godby has served 2.5 years on the board of the IMPD Mounted Horse Patrol Association. A role he describes as “incredibly fun, because if it wasn’t, I’d stop doing it.” He brings a wealth of experience in business and philanthropy to the Mounted Patrol. Having been involved in real estate, banking, medical contracting, charter schools, and the heating and air conditioning business, there’s 50 plus years of experience, skill, and relationships to draw from. And in an even more fitting twist, “My son was an actual cowboy on the Padlock Ranch in Wyoming. It’s 800,000 acres,” says Godby.

That may be why after seeing and hearing about pristine Wyoming ranches Godby was embarrassed by Indianapolis’ Mounted Patrol facility. “When I saw them,” he said, “where the officers work, I was horrified. It was embarrassing. I knew they needed something. Being a friend to [Board President] Turner [Woodard], I joined to help secure property for them. Now we’re about 30 days away from that becoming a reality.”

“I’ve enjoyed the horse patrol board more than any other, and I’ve been on a lot of boards, like Riley Children’s Hospital and Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital,” Godby adds. Godby also has a solid resume of public service work from 40 and 50 years ago.

“I was a city fireman from 1967-75 when I came out of the service. This was at a time when things were pretty bad in parts of Indianapolis. There were riots and burnings back then, particularly around Indiana Avenue. There was a lot of comradery between us and the police department. They’d hang out at our stations for brief breaks, and we’d never respond to a fire in places without a police escort,” he said. It may sound dire, but Godby recalls it as “a real fun part of my life”, a recurring philosophy of his.

There was no Mounted Patrol unit in the 60’s and 70’s. It had been disbanded in favor of cars years earlier. But in the 80’s Mayor Stephen Goldsmith brought the Mounted Patrol unit back after pleas from Downtown businesses for more personable security. “I remember seeing them on West Street, and at the Marion County fairgrounds around that time,” recalls Godby.

The Indianapolis Mounted Patrol has shrunk and grown and shrunk and grown since the 80’s. “I’ve spoken to people in Dallas and New York, where their Mounted Units could be a department unto themselves. But you expect that from places like that. But I don’t believe that at our size that means we have to have sacrifice quality, service, or efficiency at scale,” says Godby.

Some of those changes in quality and service may require some additions and changes to the Association board itself. “We have to be connected and inclusive.  We have little ethnic diversity on our board and that’s as important on boards as it in public service and business.”

“I see two other things with this I have a vision for and some others do, too,” he says, “Mounted Patrol could be the face of our department. It’s something the visitor’s bureau could latch on to. Second, and more important, I’d like to talk to Chief Riggs and Mayor Hogsett about getting the Mounted Patrol in our poor neighborhoods. The only interaction with police in these neighborhoods is when someone’s been shot. Having these guys ride in neighborhoods gives them – and especially kids – a positive interaction.”

With that vision and a new facility, Godby says, “In 10 years we’re going to have another half dozen officers on horseback. I think it’ll be the pride and the face of IMPD. You couldn’t put a better picture out front for conventions and public safety. It’d be a great tribute to the Association and IMPD.”

Godby’s business successes meant in part being in the right place at the right time. It’s success and luck he hopes to transfer to everyone in Indianapolis. “My dad used to say two things. First, it doesn’t matter what you can do, just what you can get others to do and two, find out what people want and give it to them.” For the citizens of Indianapolis, that’s increased public safety and an ebbing of violent crime.  He says, “I’m excited to build a world class equestrian facility, it’s the first step toward everything.”

Missy Roetter recalls that time IMPD Mounted Patrol appeared on Letterman’s “Stupid Pet Tricks”

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, you would expect Missy Roetter to have a soft spot in her heart for horses, and you would be right. Roetter grew up in Louisville, and enjoyed riding lessons since she was 3. “I did all the usual stuff from lessons to riding camp, to jockeying sale horses and competing in college.” She is currently a staff member of Traders Point Hunt and a polo player for the Hickory Hall polo club. She was educated in finance at the University of Louisville, and spent 20 years working in retail and sales. It was L.S. Ayers, whose Indianapolis store operated at the corner of Washington and Meridian Streets where Carson’s is located today, that brought her to Indianapolis in 1985.

Missy Roetter

Missy Roetter and Huey during a fox hunting session

With the promise of new job and career development, she would soon meet her husband Fred in the Ayres Tea Room while having a lunch with a mutual friend. Together they would begin developing a deep level of service and commitment to their new home.

“My husband was working for the city’s legal department. He wrote the contract for IMPD Mounted Patrol when they moved to their 10th street location,” says Roetter. The 10th street location was near where the canal terminates on its north end today. That location was the third temporary location for the Mounted Patrol after Mayor Goldsmith tore down a barn where Lucas Oil Stadium sits today. “That location on 10th street was small. “It was convenient for the officers to get Downtown, but not conducive for the unit,” she says.

“Fred was good friends with other [Mounted Horse Patrol Association] board members and they eventually got me on the board, too, and I just love it,” she says. Roetter’s husband would later become deputy prosecutor and city attorney during Mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s administration in the mid-to-late 90s.

Today Roetter is the Youth Director at Trinity Church and says her desire to continue serving with the Mounted Patrol comes from several reasons. “I have this deep down feeling to help public service and safety. I love horses and grew up with them in my life. It’s a great opportunity for people to understand all police officers aren’t bad. They’re super valuable, even when you don’t want them to be, because nothing moves a crowd like these guys. They can be extremely useful with an officer 5 feet above the ground. It’s a valuable

Missy remembers some of the earlier publicly that the unit experienced. There was the cover of an Indianapolis Woman magazine featuring the three female officers and their horses. Roetter also recalls Officer Lester Stevens and Lightning performing during a “stupid pet tricks” bit on The Late Show with David Letterman. “The horses then were more quarter horse than draft horse, and this one that Lester rode would do the Electric Slide,” says Roetter. 

That bit first appeared in 1996 and is currently available on YouTube. Also in the video are Officers Mary Allender, Karen Wheeler, and Jane Klutzky.

IMPD Mounted Patrol

IMPD Mounted Patrol

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