OCEAN CITY — After 14 years of dedicated service, one of the Ocean City Police Department’s most decorated and beloved mounted patrol horses, Sundancer Royal, better known as “Roy,” is retiring, OCPD officials announced this week.
Roy came to the OCPD in 1997 at the young age of just four, but has become a fixture with the department’s mounted unit for the last 14 years. During Roy’s service with the OCPD, he has been involved in hundreds of arrests and several thousand enforcement actions, and has participated in countless special details with town-sponsored events including car cruises, Delmarva Bike Week and Winterfest of Lights as well as all of the annual parades and festivals Ocean City hosts.
During his service, Roy has had six different officer partners. He has also assisted other law enforcement agencies in the area over the years, including the Maryland State Police, with crowd control functions and search and recovery details. Roy has also been a teacher, serving as the lead horse to train new police horses and new mounted officers.
Roy is now retiring, having reached the age of 18, and will spend his retirement on a farm in Western Maryland. According to OCPD officials, Roy is in good health and spirits and is enjoying the company of his new family and farm friends including another horse, a donkey and numerous geese.
OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino said this week she has seen Roy in action many times and that replacing the 14-year veteran will be a difficult task.
“I have personally worked scenes when Roy has been deployed and the rookie horses have a lot to live up to,” she said. “I’m happy that he will be enjoying a peaceful retirement.”
As for Roy’s replacement, the OCPD has five new mounted police horses, three of which have seen a full year of police service. Two others are currently being trained for duty this summer season.
On Tuesday afternoon, for example, OCPD Mounted Patrol officers were seen in and around the Ocean City Inlet and the adjacent beach area putting one of the new recruits, Sherman, through his paces.
OCPD Mounted Officer Mike Levy was on Sherman, taking the potential new police horse through numerous maneuvers and drills on the parking lot and the beach. Levy said the horse has potential but it was uncertain if the animal would become a permanent addition to the department’s mounted patrol stable.