August 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Head of Detroit Police Mounted unit invited to Dutch bicentennial

Detroit — The head of the Detroit Police Mounted Section is headed to The Netherlands next month as a guest of the royal family to help celebrate the kingdom’s bicentennial.

Detroit Police Sgt. Erik Eide, along with the U.S. Army’s Blue Devil horse platoon, will be the only representatives from the Americas to participate in the Sept. 9-17 event.

“They needed an extra rider, so they asked me to come along,” said Eide, a 22-year police veteran. “It’s a huge honor.

“We will be provided horses by the king’s Royal Guard. I’ll be training with the Dutch Royal Guard, and the Hague Mounted Police. Then, there will be a pass-in-review before the king. I’m very exited to represent the United States, and the Detroit Police Department. I’m the only non-military person participating.”

Eide, 44, has been commander of Detroit’s Mounted Section since it re-opened in 2009. The unit was disbanded in 2005 due to budget cuts under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and re-opened with a grant from the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.

The Mounted Section, which is 100 percent privately funded, patrols the city every day. The five horses, Ivan, Baby, Vader, Elmo and #22, are deployed to downtown concerts, sporting events and other large gatherings to help with crowd control. The #22 horse is in training and has not yet received a permanent name.

Earlier this week, Strategic Staffing Solutions announced it would fund the unit for the rest of 2014 and 2015. The grant, which will pay for the horses’ hay, feed, medication and other expenses, is about $37,500.

Eide said he’s excited about making the trip overseas. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I couldn’t pass it up.”

Since November 2013, the National Committee for the Bicentenary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has held events to celebrate the 200th anniversary. The Netherlands became an independent monarchy in 1815.

ghunter@detroitnews.com
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