The LAPD Mounted Platoon announced the death of one of its most experienced steeds, Elvis, a 17-year old registered Arabian horse, which died on February 18, 2004 . Elvis joined the LAPD’s equine ranks in 1995 and participated in most of Los Angeles’ largest events over the last 10 years: the 2000 Democratic National Convention, three Lakers victory parades, the 2004 NBA All Stars event, four anti-war demonstrations, nine Martin Luther King Jr. parades, and countless labor demonstrations, festivals, and rock concerts. In addition, Elvis saw over 250 arrests by his riders during crime suppression details across the city, but he also had his softer side, appearing at schools, hospitals, and churches over the years.
"Elvis’ loss is considerable," said Lieutenant Phil Tingirides, the Mounted Platoon’s leader. "Not just any horse can be a police horse. It takes special qualities and extensive training."
The replacement cost for a new horse is significant, about $5,000. In addition to the purchase price is the cost of training, room, and board. Budget constraints have prevented any recent replacement purchases of horses for the Mounted Platoon.
According to Tingirides, "There is a cost benefit to the community for these horses. They are effective crime fighters. In a crowd situation, one horse is worth 10 officers. Their mere presence can keep order amidst impending chaos. Most major cities maintain a horse unit for those reasons."
To offset the city’s cost for buying new horses, the Los Angeles Police Equestrian Fund was created through a partnership of business, local equestrians, concerned citizens, and neighborhood volunteers. The group conducts fund raisers and solicits donations to defray costs and purchase new horses and equipment. Persons interested in joining the fund or contributing to it, can call 213-485-5909.
LAPD’s mounted corps has existed since the beginnings of the department in the 19th century, but it was a volunteer unit, in which the officers used their own horses, tack, and vehicles. A full-fledged platoon was created in 1987 as part of LAPD’s Metropolitan Division. The horses are stabled at Griffith Park .
This release was prepared by LAPD’s Media Relations Section, which can be reached at 213-485-3586. A photograph of Elvis is available by Email upon request.