Horsing around with forensics

Monday, April 12, 2010 - 4:42pm
Brittney Hall

When people think forensics they usually think of CSI: Miami, not horses.

But Hannah Pryce, a student in the forensics program at University of Toronto Mississauga, spent her internship experience within the office of the Toronto Police Service Mounted Unit (TPSMU). Internship courses like this are a unique experiential learning opportunity available at U of T Mississauga.

During her time there, she observed and collected data on the officers.

The mounted units know that they are effective with regards to crowd control, but no one has ever looked at data before, that I know of. My project started as streamlining the TPSMU system and ended up with me trying to streamline everyone's [data], says Pryce.

She gathered information such as the number of arrests and hours worked. She also looked at how many officers were sent for crowd control and how they performed in the situation.

Pryce monitored the police officers as they worked in groups from two to 30 and collected data. She surveyed the staff of the police station, looking at topics such as whether community satisfaction was actively tracked, analyzed and stored, and whether standardized operating procedures for reporting, analysis and management were clearly written out and accessible to officers.

She says the units can be very different in size, functions, locations and types of horses they used, but they all serve their communities in the same way. The people at TPSMU are phenomenal—they are incredibly kind professionals, says Pryce. It was a great experience, they do good for the community.

And observing the officers was not all that she got to do. Pryce, who has ridden since she was a young girl, got to ride some of the massive police horses, and even gave lessons to less experienced riders. She was even invited back to be the guest judge at this year's riding competition, she says.

Every time you ride a horse, the horse teaches you something new as well, says Pryce.