ROCKFORD, Mich,– Summer is typically their busy season and you’ll likely see the Kent County Sheriff’s Department mounted officers at the upcoming Metro Cruise in Wyoming.
They do most of their training in the Fall and Winter. Soon, they will have a spacious new facility to practice in.
With 24 officers, Kent County is one of just a few communities in the state that has a full mounted unit. The Kent County Sheriff’s Department’s Mounted Unit has been around since 2005.
“The training is a critical part,” said Joel Langlois, a mounted officer with the unit. “Having horses that are ready and riders that are ready and that’s what this building is going to provide us.”
The building he’s referring to is going up near Rockford High School. The roughly 35,000 square foot facility will now be big enough for all 10 horses, classrooms and training space for the mounted unit. There’s even a near Olympic-size outdoor arena that will be used for obstacle training.
The $700,000 building and it’s land is all funded through private donations.
“West Michigan, even though we are a big city of Grand Rapids, we are still a small town feel and people like the idea of having police presence and having the animals,” said Langlois.
Outside of parades, summer events, even search and rescue operations, you may not see them all that often. But Langlois says one mounted officer carries a value of 10 officers on the ground.
“You have a tactical ability because you are above the crowd, you can see better,” explained Langlois. “The animal itself is able to get through crowds better.”
The building is expected to be finished in October.