MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Officers from Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Alabama, and Mobile took part in a rigorous training this week to learn how to manage horses and crowds during parades.
The Mobile Police Department started training Wednesday. Thousands of people are expected to roll in to Mobile this week, and Mobile Police are training new officers on how to handle rowdy crowds all while mounted on a horse.
Officers and volunteers from around the country said they are using this time to learn how to manage parades where they live and the help out this weekend.
"I don't not know of any training anywhere in this country where for a week they get concentrated training like this," said Instructor John Dalziel. "Yesterday we had 12 motorcycles roaring around the horse. We had the segways. This morning we had smoke and flares. You know the horses and riders absolutely get thoroughly trained and tired."
Explosives, dogs, and even a helicopter were brought in to test how the horses would react to loud and startling noises. Instructors tested to see how the riders were able to calm down their horses. Each drill is repeated multiple times until the horses feel comfortable.
"We're not here to scare the horses. Although some horses will get scared. It is to acclimate the horses to anything that they may come across the streets," said Dalziel.
John Dalziel worked as a mounted Metropolitan Police Officer in London for more than a decade.
"I was one of those fellows who rode the big black horses with a red plume," said Dalziel.
Now he is using his skills for the 12th consecutive year to train mounted officers and volunteers on how to handle the rowdiness and surprises of Mardi Gras crowds.
Dalziel said, "We want to make sure that everything is safe not just for the horses and the rider but our main concern is the safety of the public."
The Officers have passed the test. Mounted volunteers and law enforcement will put their training to use this weekend.