WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Throughout the month of May, the Eyewitness News morning crew looks at the different resources available to law enforcement when they get the call for an unusual first response.
Another example is when Kenny Chesney brought his latest tour to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Luzerne County. The State Police were there to make sure everyone stayed safe, but they also brought ten friends along with them: State Police horses.
In all, they’re ten of the 27 horses in the State Police Mounted Unit stabled in Hershey. Corporal Carrie Neidigh has been with the Mounted Unit for nearly ten years.
“Primarily what we do is crowd control,” says Cpl. Neidigh. “Crowd control, being that, anywhere in the state that there’s a large gathering of people is normally where you would see us.”
With their largest horse weighing about a ton, there are certain advantages only a horse can bring.
“You can see a lot further back into the crowd,” says Cpl. Neidigh. “So you can see where there could potentially be a problem. Whereas a guy on the ground could only be able to see that first and second row, now I can see four, five, six rows back.”
The Mounted Unit prides themselves on being effective, but they’re also efficient.
“One horse is equal to about 10 guys on the ground,” says Cpl. Neidigh. “So what we can do with eight horses, you would have to do with 80 officers on the ground. That’s 80 officers that you then have to take out of a patrol car somewhere and put them in the situation.”
These four-legged troopers are imposing at first, but after working alongside them you quickly realize intimidation is not what they’re all about.
“People that normally wouldn’t come talk to officers on the ground, they come up to us all the time and want to ask questions,” says Cpl. Neidigh. “They want to talk to us and they walk away going ‘Wow, you’re just a regular person like anyone else.’ So the horses bring that calming effect to it.”