KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department’s mounted patrol unit may soon return to city streets.
The unit, which was disbanded in Jan. 2020 to reallocate resources to KCPD’s homicide unit, could help as the city continues to find ways to turn back crime, especially during events and entertainment districts.
Mayor Quinton Lucas took to Twitter Tuesday morning expressing his support for the unit’s return.
“As more challenges present themselves in entertainment districts and mass gatherings locally and nationally, it’s worthwhile for our police department to consider reinstatement of our horse-mounted patrol units,” Lucas said.
The mayor believes the mounted patrol units would “enhance security and visibility for our crowds.”
As more challenges present themselves in entertainment districts and mass gatherings locally and nationally, it’s worthwhile for our police department to consider reinstatement of our horse-mounted patrol units, which enhance security and visibility for our crowds.— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) July 5, 2022
A KCPD spokesperson deferred comment about the proposal back to the mayor’s office.
John Hamilton, a retired Kansas City, Missouri, Police officer and associate professor emeritus of criminal justice at Park University, told KSHB 41 I-Team's Sarah Plake Tuesday that setting expectations for a mounted patrol would be important.
"Mounted patrol can be helpful in crowd control situations," Hamilton said. The horses can help to hem crowds in. If you have a peaceful demonstration, they're very very helpful. When you see a part of a group that might be protesting start to veer off, they can quickly move up and start to edge them back over."
The mayor's tweet came less than a day after seven people were killed and more than 20 others were injured during a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois.
"If you were looking at a unit like a mounted patrol unit in relation to what happened at the shooting yesterday, there would have realty been no benefit to that," Hamilton said.
KCPD’s mounted patrol operated for 13 years before being disbanded in early 2020. At the time it was shut down, a Facebook group called “The Friends of the KC Mounted Patrol” was hopeful to be able to maintain mounted patrol equipment if the department ever brought back the patrol.
The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners signed off on reallocating officers from the patrol into the homicide unit in Nov. 2019 in an effort the BOPC said wasn’t “anti-mounted patrol” but rather “anti-homicide.”
By the end of 2019, the city reported a total of 151 homicides. That total jumped to 179 in 2020 before coming back to 157 homicides in 2021. The 73 homicides reported through July 1, 2022 is roughly the same pace as in 2021.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.