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Help me make the argument for helmets!

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  • Help me make the argument for helmets!

    I am a mounted police officer. I work in a decent size city and we have a small, full-time mounted unit. We have 4 horse/rider combinations. Our uniform has always included a campaign hat like this: https://tandtuniforms.com/shop/catal...aign%20hat.jpg

    I don't know if it's age or maturity catching up with me but I realize more and more, we look like idiots not wearing helmets. Our horses are well trained but no horse is completely bomb-proof... I just feel like it's an accident waiting to happen.

    I know one thing is for sure... the department can say anything they want but if one of us has a traumatic brain injury, the department will not be left with the burden of carrying for the injured officer.

    So, who can help me with info to fight this battle? I have already spoken with the three other officers. One sees my point and agrees that it's a good idea but doesn't completely support it. One is completely against it, thinks they look stupid, would be hot and uncomfortable. The third I'm sure is somewhere in between.

    A big part of it is the look. I agree a traditional helmet would look silly but I think a GPA speed air in all black would look very nice. Of course, that's a $2400 investment that I'm asking the department to make in this horrible budget year.

    Anyway, I need stats I think to back up my argument.

  • #2
    This one is easy. Show the hat to their workman's comp provider.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      Show them the helmets the British Police Force use--should be easy enough to find pix this close to the wedding.


      • #4
        I did a quick Google image search for mounted police and a lot of them wear helmets.
        Here's some:




        (And they are in Australia where it gets pretty hot!)

        Riot gear in the UK:

        And the US

        Hope it helps - I cringe at the though of un-helmeted heads hitting the pavement!
        "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


        • #5
          I never never understand why people think the risk of falling is a function only of the training of one's horse. Gravity operates exactly the same way off the back of a well-trained horse as it does from the back of a PBR bronco. Even worse, since the rodeo isn't held on pavement.

          Police work on horseback regularly exposes horse and rider to a full selection of reasons why horses spook: cars backfiring, firearms, firecrackers, toddlers jumping out in front of horsey to pet it, mylar balloons, streamers, loud crowds. You can bombproof a horse all you want, but you will never defeat every possible cause of a spook.

          Agree re: showing this to the insurance provider. I'm amazed you can get insurance without being in a helmet already.

          The first 20 minutes of care after a single serious head injury will cost 10x the cost of helmets for your force. This is the definition of penny-wise pound foolish.
          I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
          I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


          • #6
            I forgot to add: the inmates that train the BLM Mustangs at our nearby facility are now required to wear helmets - should help with the convincing
            "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


            • #7
              <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


              • #8
                I don't think I've ever seen mounted police (my local college force, as well as NYC, DC, and others that I've seen only on TV) NOT wearing a helmet! Add me onto the list of those who think you guys are insane!

                Also, that hat looks stupid. A $20 Troxel helmet (maybe contact them and ask for some sort of law enforcement discount? From what I've heard on this board, they are a super great company to work with) will look far less dumb.


                • #9
                  Just wondering-- Are you allowed to purchase and wear a helmet on your own? Or is it not allowed since it's not part of the uniform?
                  "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                  • #10
                    Don't some of the western hat companies make a hat w/ a helmet inside? Why not do something like that? that would offer up protection and maintain the look of the hat as well? Most of the mounted police I see are wearing helmets of some sort - would your department sent out motorcycle police w/a straw hat? NOPE, then why not you.

                    troxel makes one here is a link to photo



                    • #11
                      Get them to wear police motor cycle helmets.

                      Some of the companies that make helmets for police motor cycle riders also make versions for mounted police (which are better ventilated). An example is here. Do the OP's fellow officers think their colleagues on motorcycle patrol look "stupid"?

                      My investigation into helmets after my accident showed that the expert consensus was that the vertical drop experienced in an accident has more effect than horizontal speed. A rider is much higher off the ground on the back of a typical police horse than on a motorcycle.

                      ASTM helmets do not offer the most protection. The standard was drawn up with appearance conscious ladies in mind and the compromises made work to the detriment of large men. I found this out the hard way.
                      But all the finest horsemen out—the men to Beat the Band—
                      You’ll find amongst the crowd that ride their races in the Stand


                      • #12
                        The officers are good drivers, but all wear seat belts, too, right? Do the bike officers wear helmets?

                        Oh, there are laws about that. No laws about wearing helmets on horseback.

                        Do officers on patrol wear safety vests? And they're supplied by the department? Do people feel silly wearing them? Probably not, anymore.

                        Unless you would be "out of uniform" by wearing a helmet, just wear one. Every day. Force the conversation. Tell your labor rep that you're concerned about safety, that there's always a chance an accident - spook, slip and fall, whatever - and you're doing everything you can to keep your faculties intact.

                        Good luck.


                        • #13
                          This article has citations to articles/studies that might help you out. Such as the fact that you are apparently 20 times more likely to have an accident on a horse than a motorcycle.


                          And like gottagrey said, I doubt your city sends its motorcycle police-or even their normal bike police (if you have them) out without helmets!

                          I think helmets are especially necessary for mounted police because I'm guessing you spend most of your time working on paved surfaces. And while not very scientific, here is a story that might help you out: My younger sister who is a very skilled rider fell off her horse while they were standing still. To this day she doesn't know how she manged to fall off of a non moving horse, but she did. She fell head first on to the pavement. Her helmet ended up with a huge dent and she ended up with a minor concussion. The ER doctor told us how glad he was that she was wearing that helmet because he "didn't even want to consider what might have happened without it." Moral of the story, falls can happen in even the most seemingly mundane and controlled situation.

                          Kuddos to you for making this effort.


                          • #14
                            I would point out what happened to Courtney Dye King, at a walk nonetheless. I read something recently that she did not want to make what happened to her about helmets, but she now sees that she has to do that.

                            Imagine what could happen if you came off and hit your head on a city street.
                            "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                            • #15
                              Thank you!

                              Thank you for the replies so far! Please keep the good info coming :-)

                              Yes, my department has both motorcycle and bicycle units and they both wear helmets.

                              We are in the south where it's hot and humid so I can see why the first reaction is "no" but I really think my GPA that I wear when I ride my horses at home is cooler than our uniform hat.

                              Yes, the hat that we wear is part of our uniform and I can't just wear my own helmet and call it good. I have to get the policy changed. It's difficult when I have no support but I'm quite determined

                              I just want to have all my ducks in a row before I got start the fight.

                              I personally think the troxels are hideous. I really want the GPA. It would be perfect if I had some tack shop ready to donate them if I could get the policy changed but I know that's a long shot. Of course, you don't know until you ask....


                              • #16
                                If they have to wear helmets on bicycles, which are totally and completely under the person's control. why not wear a helmet when sitting much higher up on a 1000 + lb animal?


                                • #17
                                  You have already gotten some useful links.

                                  The only comment I'll add is that, given the budgetary restrictions faced by most municipalities, I sure wouldn't be asking for the department to cough up thousands for GPAs. You might find that someone on a budget committee looks at that and says, "hey - that's REALLY expensive. Do we really need mounted police on horses or could we find a motorcycle cop instead...?

                                  A more economical Troxel would likely go over a lot better. Or, if you must have "the look," perhaps one of the more modestly priced IRH models.
                                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                  • #18
                                    Why do motorcycle cops wear helmets? <rhetorical question> In Arizona, there are no helmet laws for bikers, but the motorcycle cops all wear helmets. As for the hot and uncomfortable argument: (1) waah and boo-hoo, big bad police officers , and (2) if anyone could whine about hot and uncomfortable, you'd think it would be mounted officers in Arizona.

                                    Here are our local Scottsdale mounted officers. A helmet is part of the uniform; nothing stupid-looking about these guys:
                                    Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
                                    Visit him on Facebook:


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by HelmetHelpAlter View Post

                                      Yes, the hat that we wear is part of our uniform and I can't just wear my own helmet and call it good. I have to get the policy changed. It's difficult when I have no support but I'm quite determined
                                      Will your guild help?

                                      In the beginning, I think officers bought their own vests. Or got part of the cost reimbursed. Then departments started supplying them. Perhaps this approach would work, too. Or a local tack store could help. Or the riding community. You need 4 helmets. Can't be that hard once approval is gained.

                                      Good for you for working on this. It's tough to change the status quo, even when it makes good sense to do so.


                                      • #20
                                        I would consider throwing projectiles into the argument as well - pun unavoidable.

                                        Motorcycle cops wear helmets, too

                                        And I am guessing you are supposed to wear a bullet proof vest, too...just in case.

                                        If all fails, I am sure you can pull the story of - getting old, dammit, Courtney what's her name...Top US dressage rider out, a very accomplished lady suffering massive injuries from a very silly little accident.