Wilmington Police Mounted Unit training new horse, still asking for name suggestions

Wilmington Police Mounted Unit training new horse, still asking for name suggestions
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:54 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:36 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - If you’ve been in Downtown Wilmington recently, you’ve likely heard horses’ hooves riding down the street. That’s the Wilmington Police Department’s Mounted Unit.

Last month, they welcomed a new horse to complete their four-man crew and he’s just now getting his hooves under him.

“Right now, he’s learning his job. He was in a rural environment in the country. So, we’re transitioning him to city life, you know, urban environments, and we start slow, slowly introducing him to traffic to loud noises,” Officer Jason Watts said.

Jason Watts has been with WPD’s Mounted Unit for almost 20 years.

They are just one of three mounted units in the state and the only full-time unit in North Carolina.

”You know, even though there are some challenges to policing on horses, we respond to pretty much all calls for service, we can do pretty much what any an officer on foot can do, we can take reports we can, you know, respond to pretty much any call we have,” Watts said. “What we can’t do obviously transport, things like that, but we make arrests from the saddle, everything is done from the saddle.”

The unit has been around since the 1980′s and they plan on keeping these guys around, especially in the downtown area because sometimes it’s easier to get around on a horse with everyone walking around.

“It is a unique job. And, you know, the horses basically give, give an opportunity for the public to approach us and be one on one. You know, they’re more approachable than an officer in a car, or, you know, people love to pet the horses, they want to see the horses. So it just gives us that unique opportunity to be able to reach out to talk to people to be highly visible, to be seen,” Watts said.

To submit a name for the new horse, follow this link.