Detroit Mounted Police Visit Ferndale Special Needs Students
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 22, 2018)
Ferndale, MI – “Horses are very gentle. They are majestic,” said Zach Rodriguez after petting the noses of horses that visited Ferndale High School on Friday. Two Detroit Police Horses and their mounted officers visited kids of all grades in the special education program through Ferndale Schools to give the kids a chance to see the animals up close and interact with the police.
“They are so sweet,” Rodriguez said. “They protect us,” he added.
Officers Steen and Sanchez stayed atop the horses while the kids pet and fed them. Nine year old Ivan the Terrible and 13 year old Al Capone are used to being around kids and crowds. Detroit Mounted Police patrol Belle Isle, Palmer Park, Downtown and Riverfront, Wayne State University, Eastern Market, sporting events, parades and many other large events in Detroit. They also help with community outreach. The officers said there are 8 horses in the unit.
“Sometimes we have to chase down people to catch up to them, but mainly they’re used for crowd control,” Officer Steen said.
Officer Steen told the kids that he saw a police officer on a horse when he was a kid, and that he put in extra training to become one of the handful of officers in the mounted police unity.
Officer Chavez is new to the job. “I’ve been doing it since June,” she said. “I’m the newest I the unit and I love it. You can never come to work in a bad mood, because you see the horses and it just makes you smile.”
The kids, ranging from elementary to high school and post high school through age 26, loved seeing the horses.
“They are very brave,” said parent volunteer Ms. Jackson. “I will watch the horses from a distance and that’s enough for me. But kids are just drawn to animals. They get to learn how to be gentle and patient.”
Destiny Brock loved seeing the horses. “I rode a horse before,” she said. “At Kensington Park on the weekends you can go ride a horse. I know how to be around them.”
The visit was organized by David Robere of ABM, contractors who provide building maintenance services to the district. “I had a friend who is a retired mounted police with the DPD and he helped set it up,” Robere said. “It’s good to see the kids so happy.”
Bill Good, Communications Director for Ferndale Public Schools, said the gesture shows how vested contractors like ABM are in the districts they serve. “There is this idea that contracted employees don’t care as much about the kids, but we see time and again that this is not true. David goes out of his way to do all he can for the students.”
Ms. Jackson said that she and other adults that help with the classrooms try to make sure they do something fun each week. This week the plan is to visit the Detroit Parade Company warehouse to get an up close look at the giant floats.
Learn more about Ferndale Special Education at http://www.ferndaleschools.org/district/administration/special-education-/
Learn more about ABM at https://www.abm.com/
Learn more about Detroit Mounted Police at https://www.detroitpublicsafety.org/copy-of-contact-your-npos