A new Doral police force member weighs 1,200 pounds and stands tall on four hooves

From horse racing in New Jersey to becoming an officer with the Doral Police Department. Welcome to Ocean, the 16-year-old standardbred horse that has been added to the city’s mounted patrol unit.

Police Sgt. Javier De La Paz, who became the first mounted unit officer for the city, oversees Ocean’s wellbeing and has established a magical bond with him. The horse will make a huge positive impact in the community and serve as an example to other communities, said De La Paz.

“There’s a huge bond there, a bond extremely needed because these animals trust you 100 percent and in return, you have to trust them,” said De La Paz. “When you have that bond it actually relaxes them as well as it relaxes you.” 

The mounted patrol unit is assigned to the neighborhood resource unit. The animal helps the public to understand that reaching out to an officer is not as difficult as it seems. 

The unit also oversees schools and community policing efforts in the city. They are responsible for establishing effective relationships with residents and business owners.

The gelding made history in the city by becoming the first horse in the new mounted unit. 

The former racehorse from Jersey was donated by the Ocean Automotive Group.

Fernando Rodríguez, general manager of the Ocean Mazda, said the company wanted to donate something other than a car to the Doral Police Department as a reward for their hard work and commitment to the city.

“Nowadays all people do is criticize the police, why not give something back to the police in a positive way because there are good cops and there are good departments,” he said. 

“What better way to bond with the community than seeing someone ride a 1,200-pound, beautiful horse down the street,” said De La Paz.

De La Paz said the magic between the animal and the human is what can impact the community. 

The standardbred has conditioning training once a week in West Kendall’s horse country where he gets exercised and desensitized.

Desensitization is the process that exposes the horse to loud noises and scary situations to help him become less skittish. 

Alexis Parra, a Doral resident, and father to 7-year-old Silvana Parra, said meeting Ocean in the downtown area has helped him and his daughter feel comfortable talking to a police officer.

Parra enjoys observing her reaction when she sees Ocean at the Downtown Doral Park. 

“Ocean impacted Silvana and inspired her to become a police officer like Sgt. De La Paz,” he said. “This horse has impacted us both, I can only imagine the huge impact it will have on the rest of the community.”

Ocean will appear at the Holiday Tree Lighting and Movie Night, on Wednesday, Dec. 1,  starting at 6 p.m. at Downtown Doral Park, 8395 NW 53rd St. 

Sharon Cruz is a senior majoring in journalism at FIU. Her main interests are writing, dancing, traveling, and spending quality time with her loved ones. She aspires to become an entertainment journalist and lawyer.