Chicago is hosting the NATO and G-8 summits in May this year and given that protests at these events can become volatile, the Chicago Mounted Police have requested updated riot gear for their 30 horses and officers. They have requested nose guards that are 22 inches long and five inches wide, with ‘impact absorbing foam'; perspex wrap-around visors to protect the horses’ eyes; 17 inch long rear leg shields and 11 inch long front leg shields, made of high-impact plastic and soft foam. They have also requested training aids for the horses, including a ‘crowd control training ball set’. The gear is necessary due to attacks on police horses at past protests.
”This isn’t the first time we’ve had riot gear for the horses, but we are updating the equipment. We have had horses attacked in the past. If the horse is injured, it puts both the horse and the officer at risk. This equipment protects both the officer and the horse,” said Police Department spokesperson, Melissa Stratton.
The Police Department has also requested new face shields to protect officers’ eyes, as protesters in the past have been known to throw bags of urine and feces at officers.