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Mounted Patrol Frequently Asked Questions

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For questions regarding the Mounted Patrol Unit, call: (813) 276-3457.

If you have any further questions regarding our unit, you may contact the Mounted Patrol Coordinator.

Q.  Where do you get the horses?

A.   All of our horses are donated, either by individuals or organizations.

Q.  What kind of horses do you take as donations?

A.   We prefer horses that are at least seven years of age, so they have matured.  We only take geldings (male horses).  The horses need to be at least 15hands tall, but not more than 17hands tall.  They need to have a quiet demeanor and pleasant personality (no biting or kicking habits).  We prefer some type of quarter horse cross, as they normally have good dispositions, and are very agile.

Q.  When are the Horses used?
A.  The horses are used daily.  They patrol Ybor City (bar district) every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.  During the other days, the horses patrol downtown, Channelside, neighborhoods, and high crime areas.  They are used for all large events, ie. Gasparilla Day and Night parades, St. Patrick's Parade, Guavaween, Buccaneer and USF football games, Presidential visits, Funeral escorts, Tampa Police Department and State of Florida Law Enforcement Memorial Services.  They are also used for Holiday Mall patrols, National Night Out neighborhood events, Great American Teach In demonstrations, and various other public demonstrations.
Q.Who takes care of the horses?

A.  The officers assigned to the Mounted Patrol Unit takes care of the horses.  There are four full-time police officers and one supervisor.  We do all of the feeding, stall cleaning, bathing, grooming, minor doctoring, transporting, and everything else that goes with owning a horse.  It is a very physically demanding position to be assigned to.

Q.  Where do you keep the horses?
A.  The department has 250 acres of a city owned well field that the horses live on.  There is a ten-stall barn and training area located on the property that was all built on donated funds and materials.
Q.  How much training do the horses receive?
A.  Initially, the horses get anywhere from three to six months of training.  They are exposed to sirens, loud noises, pushing barrels, fireworks, gunfire, and walking on numerous different surfaces.  They must get accustomed to pushing against people and having the rider handcuff people from their backs.  If the horses respond well to this, they are taken out to neighborhoods and less populated parts of the city to patrol.  Afterwards, they are then taken to Ybor City to work at night in the bar district.

That is just the initial training.  Every day that we ride, we consider a training opportunity.  We are always looking for something new to expose our horses to.

We also train with surrounding agencies and their police horses.  That way, the horses get used to being around strange horses as well.

Q.  What happens if a horse is not able to complete the training?
A.  When the horse is initially donated, he is donated for a training period of three to six months.  If he is not cut out to be a police horse, the person that donated him has to take him back.  If he passes the training requirements, he is then owned by the city. 
Q.  How do you get to be a Tampa Police Mounted Officer?
A.  You have to be a certified law enforcement officer with two years tenure, need a letter of request, and a referral letter from his/her immediate supervisor.