Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yesterday's Horse Therapy

As a member of the Motor City Horse Force (aka - Restore the Horse Foundation), it was great to be at the graduation of of the newest Mounted Academy Class for the Wayne County Sheriff's Department Mounted Unit. 6 new Mounted Officers! It was great seeing the officers in attendance, the Sheriff, and various members of the Horse Force.

The Foundation can be found at http://www.motorcityhorseforce.org/

Robert Raisch (AKA - General Raisch - he is a retired USMC Brig. General) is the President of the foundation and a member of St. John's. He is mentioned in the article below from today's Free Press.


At a time when most law enforcement agencies around the country have reduced or eliminated their mounted patrols because of tight budgets and an unstable economy, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans is expanding.
Six newly trained and certified officers graduated Tuesday from the Mounted Police Training Academy on Tuesday, where they underwent 320 grueling hours of volunteer equestrian training over several months in addition to their normal eight-hour shifts. The five deputies and one commander received their sabers at a ceremony at the Michigan State Fairgrounds' Hertel Coliseum.
They join the last full-time mounted patrol unit in Michigan, which has grown from five to 14 horses in the past year and from five certified officers to the now 19 certified officers -- including Sheriff Evans.
How does a unit -- primarily used for patrolling Edward Hines Park, participating in parades, and controlling crowds for major events like the Target Fireworks display and the recent Detroit Red Wings championship parade in Detroit -- continue to operate and grow in these tough economic times?
For starters, the unit's existence is designated as a county parks patrol mandated by the county charter. The unit's annual budget of about $250,000 for full-time officers and costs for the care and transport of the horses comes from the parks budget and not the county's general fund. Because officers undergoing the training volunteer, there is no training cost to the county.
"I would not make the argument that the county needs to fund it," Evans, who owns two horses himself, said of the mounted patrol unit. "We have to find new and inventive ways to creatively pay for it."
Some of the funding for the mounted patrol comes in the form of private donations from the Detroit-based nonprofit Restore the Horse Foundation, known as the Motor City Horse Force. The foundation recently donated a heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado it received from General Motors Corp. to the unit along with a trailer that can transport six of the unit's horses.
"It takes private money and citizen concern to keep the thing we value the most," Robert Raisch, president of Restore the Horse Foundation, said about the cost and need for mounted units in large U.S. cities like Detroit.
Money also is raised through two fund-raisers each year that add more than $20,000 to the unit's budget.
At Tuesday's graduation ceremony, Evans, who helped start the unit in 1978, said he had "tremendous, tremendous pride" in the unit, which patrols the 4,000-acre Edward Hines Park.
"They are all ready to go, ready to ride," he said.
Deputy Kristyn Thompson-Montgomery, a 10-year veteran with the department, was the only woman among the six graduates. She received the "Most Improved" honor after Evans said she took a significant fall at the beginning of her training.
"Getting mounted was something new and something exciting for me," said Thompson-Montgomery, 46. "In this class I'm the only woman and it's great finishing something like this."