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DPS Launches Mounted State Capitol Patrol Ahead Of 2015 Legislative Session

The DPS Mounted Horse Patrol Unit with the Houston Police Department's mounted patrol.
The DPS Mounted Horse Patrol Unit with the Houston Police Department's mounted patrol.
The DPS Mounted Horse Patrol Unit with the Houston Police Department's mounted patrol.
Credit Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News
The DPS Mounted Horse Patrol Unit with the Houston Police Department's mounted patrol.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has officially launched a mounted patrol on the state capitol grounds.

Much like their first use during the 2013 special session abortion rallies, theDPSis hoping the horse patrol will make troopers more visible.

The idea of having a mounted patrol on the state capitol grounds was an idea first put forth by former state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands. And during 2013 special session, it was also one of first times a mounted patrol was used for crowd control during a number of high-capacity abortion rallies.

Col. Steve McCraw, the director of DPS, explained the "why" behind the Mounted Horse Patrol Unit:

"There’s no question that high-visibility patrols decreases crime, deters crime,” McCraw said.

DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw.
Credit Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News
DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw.

McCraw said they studied how other police forces like the Houston Police Department use mounted patrols and said the data showed they’re quite effective. And in Texas, he said, it just looks cool.

“It’s a Texas thing," McCraw said. "You know, at the end of the day you’d expect to see at horse at the capitol grounds, we don’t want to disappoint.”

The three horses that make up the DPS Mounted Horse Patrol Unit are cost-neutral; The horses, veterinarian services and stables and training grounds were all donated. McCraw said how often and how many of them appear on the state capitol grounds will depend on what is happening at the capitol. 

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