vehicle, the department recently pitched in with some grant money to
have it professionally painted. Now, the black-and-white trailer is
more consistent with the rest of the department's fleet.
"It looks nice now, and we don't have to hide it somewhere," he
said, adding that anything to enhance the ability to use the horses
as tools for public safety education is a plus.
Education is much of what the Burbank Police Department's Mounted
Unit is all about. Penaranda and Scout, along with and Officer Rick
Medlin and his horse, Sam, patrol hillside areas and Burbank Village
and go to schools with anti-drug and gun safety messages.
"Talk about an ice breaker," Penaranda said. "When we are on our
horses, we cannot go more than five feet until we are stopped and
asked about the horses."
Medlin and Penaranda are joined in the equestrian unit by three
other officers, whose horses are all state certified and trained.
Scout, for example, is unfazed by the pop of fireworks or the zeal of
curious children. And the horses are so disciplined in various leg
pressures and positions, officers can write traffic tickets without
getting off the horse.
Summer is the unit's busy time because car and pedestrian traffic
picks up then, especially in Burbank Village. The officers own the
horses, and they cover the cost of boarding and bridling their
Penaranda, who works regular patrol as a department training
officer, said he's been able to combine his love for horses with a
career in law enforcement, something he never thought would happen
when he joined the force.
"It's rare that someone comes up and says, "Hey, can I pet your
car?'" he said.