A rich history of the IMPD Mounted Patrol Unit serving Indianapolis

1920s IMPD Mounted Patrol

Indianapolis Mounted Patrol in front of the former City Hall in the 1920s.

The IMPD Mounted Patrol, formerly IPD Mounted Patrol, was formed in January 1983 by then-Public Safety Director Richard Blankenbaker and Downtown Indianapolis business leaders. They wanted more patrols in the Downtown area and a positive public relations tool for the City and the Police Department. With an initial donation of $50,000 from this group and the help of the City Administration under then-Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, the initial unit consisted of six officers, seven horses, one truck, and a horse trailer.

IMPD Mounted Patrol Services Chart

IMPD Mounted Patrol Services Chart [Click to Enlarge]

In 2015, the IMPD Mounted Patrol Unit clocked 831.5 hours of riding time, which does not include time spent caring for horses, washing trucks, and maintenance. The Mounted Patrol Unit worked 7 officer memorial or funeral events, 4 protests, 42 community and school events, 74 events like the Circle City Classic, Black Expo, Indy 500 and others), and were on the streets 253 days of the year. In addition, the unit patrols Downtown and in other areas of Indianapolis daily.

Problems with finding our horses a permanent home

Since 1983, the unit has had 5 horse stable locations within the city, and has never had a permanent place to call home. The Horse Patrol Association and Unit has been located at Pendleton Pike, an old warehouse at Merrill and Willard (Lucas Oil Stadium exists in this spot now), four locations inside the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1011 N Fayette near the Downtown Canal, and our current “temporary” spot at the former Central State hospital location near Washington and Tibbs.

IMPD Mounted Patrol Offices

13-year old construction trailers used by IMPD Officers

Today, IMPD Mounted Unit officers work out of “temporary” construction trailers that were donated after construction at Lilly Pharmaceutical’s campus completed 13 years ago. They were never meant to be used for this long. The trailers are falling apart and the entire site – office trailers, stables, and stalls – are an embarrassment to the Unit, police department, and city.

The unit has grown to over 12 officers in the past accounting for two shifts. The unit has been trimmed down extensively to the current amount of 1 lieutenant, 8 officers, 1 civilian hostler, and 8 horses, with the hope of adding 2 more horses soon.

Mounted Patrol Horse Stables

IMPD Mounted Patrol Horses are housed in these stables