Showing Off with DC's Metropolitan Police Force

LIFE Magazine photographer Thomas Mcavoy grabbed these shots of DC's mounted police demonstrating their motorcycle skills in 1939.  I'm not sure how any of these stunts translate into fighting crime, except maybe crashing through the wall of fire.  That move seems to come up in every police chase I've ever seen on TV.  Then there is the long distance just over a group of people laying on the ground.  Where do you find people dumb enough to go for that?