The Cleveland Mounted Police Unit is over 100 years old and still going strong. It is one of the oldest mounted units in the United States. It took a budget hit in 2004 and was dismantled. Since then it has been reinstated but still faces many financial challenges. The city had three different stables throughout the city. Today they have one. Seven horses and seven riders make up the unit now, but we would like to add between four and six new sets of horses and riders. We rely on fundraisers and donations to help pay for feed, hay, veterinarian and blacksmithing for the horses.
Since the casino opened downtown, the Mounted Unit has had a presence on the square. Not only does it serve as a way to help deter crime, it is a great public relations coup for the Cleveland Police Department.
Sergeant Mark Medwid took over the unit about two years ago. He said, “Wherever the police come out on the horses, the public comes out to talk to them.”
Below is a timeline of events that add to this unit’s endurance in the community:
♦ Although horses were used in police work from the City’s inception in 1836, the current Mounted Unit traces its roots to the Cleveland Cavalry, formed in 1877. In 1895, its name was changed to Troop A, 107th Cavalry Regiment, Ohio National Guard, but it was popularly known as the Black Horse Troop.
♦ “Big Kentucky Thoroughbred Is Cleverest, Fastest, Gentlest Animal in the Department Stables” published in the Cleveland News Circa 1904.
♦ Most accounts date the formation of the Mounted Police Unit to the years 1905-1909, when Police Chief Fred Kohler borrowed two horses and assigned two patrolmen to mounted patrol.
♦ The Unit marched in President Warren G. Harding’s inaugural parade in 1921. It later marched in his funeral procession.
♦ At its peak in 1932, the Cleveland Mounted Police numbered 85 horses and patrolmen. By 1948, the Unit was divided into three troops: Troop A, which patrolled downtown and formed the drill team; Troop B, which patrolled the East Side park system; and Troop C, which patrolled Edgewater Park and the shoreline. As late as 1965, the Unit contained 56 horses.
♦ In 1933, the Unit won the International Drill Team Championship at the Chicago World’s Fair, defeating precision riding teams from around the world.
♦ In 1946, the Unit represented the United States at the International Horse Show in Mexico City. The riders so impressed the president of Mexico that he made each man an honorary member of the Mexican National Police Force.
♦ In 1953, the Unit marched in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inaugural parade.
♦ The Unit was invited to march in President Ronald Reagan’s 1985 inaugural parade, but a minus-40-degree wind-chill factor forced its cancellation.
♦ Browns vs. Broncos in the 1986 Championship Playoff – and the Cleveland Mounted Police were there!
♦ In 1989, the Cleveland Mounted Police was the only mounted police unit invited to march in the inaugural parade of George H.W. Bush after the parade committee ranked it No. 1 in the Country.
Friends of the Cleveland Mounted Police
1109 Carnegie Avenue, 2nd Floor
Cleveland, Ohio 44115