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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.

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