Police Horses to Receive Body Cameras

Israeli police horses stand guard outside the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Yerushalayim. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

After outfitting officers with body cameras, Israel Police is now preparing to mount cameras on their horses as well. The reason for this is because in recent months, mounted police units and their horses have become targets during protests across the country. Police have concluded that placing cameras on the horses will deter protesters and provide a wider, more reliable view of incidents where attempts are made to attack.

“The goal is to get a broader picture, especially in cases where people are standing close to the horses and trying to harm them,” Superintendent Shalom Aharon, commander of the national mounted police unit, told Yisrael Hayom.

As part of the policy to equip officers with body cameras, an attempt was initially made to provide mounted officers with the devices as well. However, it quickly became apparent they were ineffective – the horse’s neck and head obstructed the view, preventing a full picture from being captured.

In light of this, the police commissioner and the police operations directorate commander instructed staff to find an alternative solution. In the first stage, it was decided to add cameras on the officers’ helmets. According to Aharon, efforts are also underway to place cameras directly on the horses themselves.

In the meantime, two cameras will be added to each officer’s helmet – one facing forward and one facing backward. These are cameras that provide stable footage despite the horse’s movements, with audio capabilities and extended recording time for day or night in any weather conditions.

“Ultimately, this is a professional force trained to carry out surgical operations within crowds – to disperse, repel, and block marches and protests,” Aharon said.

“When protesters take to the Ayalon Highway, we have to move in with the mounted unit to block them and allow traffic flow,” he added. Regarding claims of horses injuring protesters, he said, “The cameras will allow us to investigate ourselves, to learn what we did right and where we erred.

“In the end, there is no complete coverage. If someone stands behind a crowd and throws a torch at a mounted officer, we may not always capture it on camera. But thanks to the footage, we can present events as they truly occurred. Our ultimate goal is for all protest participants to return home safely. There have been cases where protesters claimed they were injured by the mounted unit or horses, and we saw that was not the case. The cameras shed light on false claims from protesters.”

According to Aharon, of the approximately 70 horses, only a few have been injured so far, and injuries to the mounted officers were minor. However, he says, “during a Yerushalayim protest, a torch was thrown at a mounted officer, and we identified focused attempts to harm the horse and rider.”

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