Monday, May 24, 2010

The Mounted Patrol's man behind the scenes

The Mounted Patrol Section is one of the best crowd control tools this department possesses. The horses also do a great job engaging the community in a way no human police officer could - drawing in children and adults to give them a pat and learn about what they do. Many people don't know that Mounted Patrol is largely run on donations and volunteers - all the horses are donated by caring community members (they have to pass a series of tests to see if they can be a police horse), and a volunteer basically keeps the stables in Swope Park up and running.

Last week, I got a chance to recognize that volunteer, Dan Geisler. I presented him with a well-deserved Meritorious Service Award (he's pictured above with the award and the Mounted Patrol officers), and wanted to tell you about this man's incredible dedication to KCPD and its Mounted Patrol Section:

Dan Geisler is a volunteer, but he puts in as much work at the police department as a full-time employee.

Mr. Geisler started volunteering for the department in November 2008 and was assigned to the Mounted Patrol Section. Sergeant Joey Roberts said Mr. Geisler immediately took on a position of leadership and enthusiastically assumed the role of Barn Manager. He quickly assessed the needs of the unit and took it upon himself to organize, repair, and clean the stables. He discovered not only monetary and equipment needs, but he also assisted with labor and barn management to maximize the time officers and horses spent out on patrol.

Sergeant Roberts said Mr. Geisler often arrived to the barn before anyone else to do cleaning and chores.

KCPD’s auxiliary volunteers are asked to put in 16 hours per month of work, or about 192 hours annually. Mr. Geisler did about 2,000 hours in one year, volunteering an average of 40 hours a week. Much of this time was on weekends and evenings. He also volunteered to work at special events, like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, annual training clinics and anywhere else ground support might be needed. Sergeant Roberts said Mr. Geisler’s constant maintenance and presence at the barn allows for tours and demonstrations for the public that otherwise would not happen.

Even though he gives tremendously of his time, Mr. Geisler also gives to the Mounted Patrol Section financially. He has purchased things with his own money when he saw a need that couldn’t be met in the Section’s budget. He bought several sets of riot gear for the horses and paid for and delivered 20 tons of gravel for a driveway on the north side of the barn. On top of all of this, Mr. Geisler also made a cash donation to the non-profit Friends of Mounted Patrol group to assist the Section with miscellaneous expenses.

Sergeant Roberts said Mr. Geisler’s professional service and dedication have resulted in better service to the community. He said, “His donations of time and money are so far above and beyond what is required for any volunteer that I feel his efforts should not go unnoticed.”