The Mounted Police Unit in Istanbul serves and secures the metropolitan with its 15 personnel and eight horses, which are trained in the Büyükçekmece district, according to a feature story by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
“We take action where other police units cannot enter with their vehicles, like woods, sports matches, historical and touristic places. We serve at the front line of these places,” said the officials.
The day in the Büyükçekmece Mounted Police Unit Center starts with a “free ride.”
Police officers take the horses out of the stables and let them walk or run freely in the center.
Afterwards, officers groom the horses and put their equipment on.
“Then the daily routine exercises that last for about one and a half hour begin,” said Furkan Erözdemir, a police officer who has been serving in the mounted unit for about two and a half years.
“We have our special sound and noise training sessions. What will they do when there is a blast, a smoke bomb or a firework is dropped? We train them for these,” added Erözdemir.
Ayten Yüksek, a policewoman who voluntarily entered the unit as soon as it was in service, expressed her love for animals and willingness to join the unit when she first heard about it.
“I adore animals, and when I heard about such a unit, I wanted to be a part of it. People’s reactions to us are amazing. They are proud of us, especially women. When they see that women are riding horses, they congratulate or even applause us,” said Yüksek.
When asked, “How do kids react?” the policewoman smilingly replied: “You know, they grow up in Istanbul and never saw a horse alive. And there is a woman on it! They get shocked. Girls come and say, ‘I want to be a policewoman on a horse like you.’ This makes me glad more than anything.”
The priority of the unit is to provide security in the woods of the city, especially to warn residents and to prevent wildfires.
“For the last one and a half months, we have been patrolling some key points in some woods. We put fines on residents who burn up samovars or barbecues,” noted Erö-zdemir, describing her duty.
When asked, “How is life with a horse?” he said: “Sometimes we spend more time with them than our families. We have an unseen bond with each other.”
“We are the horses’ trainers and riders at the same time. This fact relaxes them physically and psychologically,” he added.
Concluding their words, the police officers said, “We are at the service of Istanbul for peace and security with our eight horses.”
Hurriyet Daily News