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Omaha Police mounted patrol ready for NCAA tournament

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 12:53 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - With the NCAA tournament kicking off, Omaha Police Department’s mounted patrol is ready to be back in action for large events.

Calm, collected, and reliable; those are the qualities each of the horses on OPD’s mounted patrol needs to have on the job.

“He trusts me and I trust him,” Seargent Kevin Vodicka with the mounted patrol said standing beside his equine partner, Diesel.

While some of their training gets the officers and horses ready for the most extreme circumstances, the mounted patrol is generally utilized for two reasons; crowd control and community policing.

Diesel is really friendly. He’s a, he’s a people horse, so he loves people. People come up and pet him,” Sgt. Vodicka said.

As the NCAA tournament kicks off today at CHI, fans will be seeing Diesel and the rest of the unit around patroling.

“One mounted patrol officer equals about 10 officers on the ground,” he explained. “We can do everything that an officer can do on foot, we can do on a horse.”

As fans and teams come to the arena, the squadron will be keeping their eyes on parking lots, helping direct traffic, and acting as ambassadors of our city.

“We’ll be there every day of the tournament, checking parking lots, walking around, talking to people, and welcoming them to Omaha,” Sgt. Vodicka said.

While the coronavirus didn’t force the mounted patrol to change their day-to-day as much as other units, the absence of large events like the College World Series, March Madness and the swim trials have them itching to be around people again doing what they do best.

“We love to talk to people, we love to have people come pet our horses. And that’s one of the things we’re going to do at the NCAA Tournament,” he said.

On top of the mounted patrol, OPD has a plan to manage traffic and any potential outside events throughout downtown.

You’ll also be seeing more officers on bikes around the arena.

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