The Bridgewater State University Police Department welcomed three new, four-legged officers this semester. After years in the making, a mounted unit has joined the BSU Police Department.
The unit was made possible largely by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department. The department has worked in close partnership with Bridgewater State’s Police Department to supply the horses and training.
Officer Diane Nicol has been horseback riding for most of her life and was the first to approach BSU Police Chief David Tillinghast about the possibility of a mounted unit on campus. Nicol is a mounted officer with Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, as well as an officer with Bridgewater State’s Police Department.
Captain Michael Froio of the BSU Police Department, is enthusiastic about the mounted unit on campus and is pleased with the feedback the department has received.
“The students have reacted in a fantastic way. It has helped the officers get to know the students,” Froio said.
The mounted unit is considered an element of Bridgewater State’s community outreach.
Froio said students may feel that they cannot approach an officer in a cruiser, but would be more comfortable approaching an officer on horseback or with a K-9 officer.
A mounted unit serves many functions, especially at ceremonial purposes and large crowd events. The added height helps officers view crowded places and also makes officers more visible.
With the mounted unit, officers are now able to access places inaccessible in a cruiser, such as the Great Hill Drive trails and events like Autumn Fest.
“It helps people find officers when they need them,” Forio said.
Alexandra Puffer is The Comment’s Digital Editor. Follow her on Twitter at @AlexandraPuffer or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.