Return to Headlines

STEP law enforcement students get visit from Minneapolis police mounted patrol officers, horses

Mounted police visit STEP. (03/07/19) There was no horsing around earlier this week for students taking law enforcement classes at Anoka-Hennepin’s Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP) in Anoka.

On March 5, the school’s law enforcement I and II classes had a special visit from members of the Minneapolis Police Department’s mounted patrol unit, which is a special unit of 23 officers and 12 horses. (See photos from the visit.)

“It was such a cool experience,” said Jessica Lipa, STEP’s program director. “And it was a real treat for the students who asked a lot of questions, like how to get into the field and to advance themselves in law enforcement.”

Students also had a chance to meet four of the patrol’s horses that visiting officers brought to the school.

“Students had a lot of questions about the horses, too, such as how to care for the animals and how they pick which horse makes it onto the patrol,” Lipa said. “It was just another way for our program to engage with students and showcase different career opportunities.”

Minneapolis Police Department’s mounted patrol unit specializes in crowd control and community policing, and are often seen at events like the Super Bowl, which was held in Minneapolis last year, or the upcoming NCAA basketball Final Four, which is set for April 5-8 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"Horses are great at building community relationships, according to mounted patrol Sergeant Molly Fischer. “Children and adults alike enjoy seeing our horses and riders. When mounted police patrol the city, our size and crisp formations not only help deter crime but the horses bring smiles to faces.”


STEP bills itself as a high school in a college setting where students primarily in grades 11 and 12 can explore hands-on technical and manufacturing careers while earning both high school and college credit. It’s located on the Anoka Technical College campus, and shares facilities, equipment, and supplies with the college.

The school has 700-800 students each trimester, who come from all five of Anoka-Hennepin’s five traditional high schools (Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Champlin Park, and Coon Rapids). Most are part-time students, which means they take core classes at their regular high school, and then come to STEP at some point during the day for technical and manufacturing studies.