WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Four months ago, a group of faith leaders, dubbed the God Squad, were introduced at a community cookout at McAdams Park.
Their goal, to strengthen the bond between the community and police.
Several of the pastors, like Pastor Roosevelt DeShazer of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, came out for the training.
Today’s training allowed the God Squad to see first hand how the Wichita Police Department’s Mounted Unit is used.
“They showed us the different formations the officers use, different techniques and tactics that they use to disperse a crowd, to break up fights, to separate people,” said DeShazer.
Seven of the officers and horses that are a part of the mounted patrol were there to show how these formations worked.
Sergeant Ed Brower has been in charge of the mounted patrol for the past 12 years.
He showed how the horses move in pairs of two to four, and how those formations work to get horses from point A to point B, especially when moving through a crowd.
He says he hoped this training would clear up any misconceptions.
“They got to see the natural instincts of the horses is not, there not attack animals and they don’t want to step on people and they actually avoid stepping on people when they can,” said Sgt. Brower.
Brower stressed the importance of educating community leaders, like the God Squad.
“We educate these people on how we use the horses and how it’s done so if somebody in the community has any problems or if somebody has a complaint, a lot of times they can explain to them,” said Sgt. Brower.
For members of the God Squad, like DeShazer, he says the training only solidifies their stride to be that bridge between the community and police.
“That’s our main goal, is to be that person in the middle that both the community and the police department can rely on,” said DeShazer.
Pastor DeShazer says they plan to do another training session with the mounted patrol at the beginning of next year.
That will deal with some higher level training the horses go through, including how they react to gunfire and smoke.