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Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

City residents who attended the mayor’s Voice of the Citizen budget forums said the Rochester Police Department’s Mounted Patrol unit should be put out to pasture. The city faces a budget gap of $28 million.

Here are some of the comments:

“Eliminate Mounted Patrol—what value do they provide?” (NE)

“Cut or reduce Mounted Patrol.” (SE)

“Eliminate Mounted Patrol or reallocate those resources to patrol positions.” (NW)

“Businesses should pay the cost of Mounted Patrol if used as special events.” (SW)

“Is it possible to share services with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office? They have Mounted Patrol, K-9, SCUBA, and Tactical.” (online)

“Mounted patrol is a luxury. RPD has too many people in non patrol roles.” (online)

The unit consists of seven horses who live in the Verona Street Animal Shelter stable and seven officers. The biggest cost of the unit is those seven officers, who take care of the horses every day. There are other costs associated with veterinary care, shoeing, food and equipment. The major benefit of getting rid of the Mounted Patrol, which many departments across the country have done, is putting those officers on routine details.

But the Mounted Patrol has fierce defenders. The “10-foot policeman” is excellent in scanning crowds and breaking up unruly crowds. The horses also do a tremendous job fostering good will between police and citizens.

Is the Mounted Patrol something that’s “nice to have,” but we can’t afford anymore? Or is it something very useful?

There’s at least one person in power who wants to keep the unit. The police chief just put out an RFP for farrier services.

Links of the Day:


– The former Bausch beachfront estate in Irondequoit is for sale for just under $1 million.

– The Yahoo offices in Niagara County are getting hefty tax breaks. Residents cry foul.

– The use of paid confidential police informants is under scrutiny after charges were dropped against an Albany area store owner.

– SUNY Albany has a problem with students buying and selling assignments.

– It may be 2013, but a Georgia school district is holding its very first integrated prom.

11 Responses to Budget & Mounted Patrol

  1. April 27, 2013 at 12:05 pm Louis T. Amico responds:

    The article does not state the cost of the program. If the seven officer salaries and benefits are the largest cost; then I cannot imagine the impact on the budget to be more than a couple million dollars. And I don’t think this is an unreasonable amount of a nearly $500 million budget.

    In light of this, I think this a worthwhile investment of resources that serve a useful function with regard to crowd control at events. And I agree with the idea that businesses, those that are benefiting from the event, such as a sports team, should pay a fee to help defray the cost.

    No “nay” from me on this issue.

  2. April 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm Cary Barnhart responds:

    I am all for the mounted patrol. The unit is a great PR piece for the police and is very useful in crowd control and moving people along if needed. I don’t think seven more officers on car or foot patrol would make much of a difference as the current patrols go pretty much unnoticed. However, if the current mounted patrol were used daily on say Dewey Avenue or similar streets then folks might appreciate the unit more due to it’s visibility and seeing it in action rather as a ceremonial unit. I think a couple horses on Dewey between Ridgeway and Driving Park would do wonders in cleaning up the area’s street scene and certainly make everyone aware of a positive police presence.

  3. April 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm Orielly responds:

    I suspect an Agenda behind those comments likely coming from those opposed to the current mayor and unhappy with city policing.

    I would rather do away with the city run bar in Charlotte, the new marina or the skate park, or maybe even a go after Wilmot on back taxes vs giving up the mounted patrol. But funny no combined outrage on those items.

  4. Here is an idea: teach your kids to not be thugs and we won’t need cops in schools, freeing up plenty for patrol. Teach them not to shoot or beat each other on the streets and we will have plenty more cops for patrols.
    When Dufus (and that scumbag Warshaw along with former Chief Gordy) used to get his hair cut at my mom’s barber on Monroe Ave. every Saturday for about 15 years I would stop in and I ask him repeatedly about a few things.
    -why don’t we have more mounted officers? You can’t outrun them, the cop can’t have his window up an not interact with the people or miss noises like gunshots, everyone loves horses so it removes the ‘militarization aspect from the officer and makes them more of a ‘person’.
    -where did all of the K9’s go?
    -why does the PD have a scuba team instead of the Fire Dept.? The PD, Coast Guard and Sheriff DO NOT do water rescue, the FD does. So why isn’t the FD doing rescue and recovery?
    He would, I now realize in hindsight, do The Duffy which is to dodge the question by giving an answer that almost makes you forget exactly what the question was.
    He said “who will clean up the horse poop?” and “the fire department doesn’t have a scuba team?!” The dog question never got answered. He decided to get his hair cut over around Thurston Ave riiiiiight about the time he decided to run for mayor.
    (for the record, the FD still has no scuba team, members went at their own cost over the years to learn swift water rescue as the department refused to spend money on training of any type that wasn’t reimbursed by the state or feds), has no fireboat but is legally responsible for all rescues up to 1 mile offshore of the entire city frontage, yes, all the way down Beach Ave and Durand Eastman Beach, along with the river.

    There would be plenty of money if people didn’t raise thugs though. Plenty.

  5. love those horsies.. especially when they wear their capes!!!

  6. Mounted patrol is nice, BUT when given the option of cutting that or a firehouse, a couple rec centers, or a couple libraries, the mounted patrol loses. Now i do agree with other commenters that if the city would cut the real wastes of money, the marina, the bar in charlotte, the broad st ditch, demoing sound but vacant houses, etc we’d have money to keep everything and probably be able to add services. But campaign donors need kickbacks, so we need to keep money going to them and not services to the citizens.

  7. April 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm Bored...man...street responds:

    Get rid of them, because right now all they seem to do is leave massive sh*ts everywhere that there is no crowd control to be done.

    This winter on multiple occasions there were huge piles of sh*t on Harvard St. where I lived, which never has any big events, especially in winter. Meanwhile, I see a video on the news of a near-soccer riot in the St. Paul Quarter with not a horse in site. Guess what they use in England to control soccer violence? HORSES!!
    In fact, I ride to work along the river trail, and there has been a massive sh*t pile there for a week. If they aren’t going to pick up after the horses and not even use them for anything useful, get rid of them.

    • April 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm Louis T. Amico responds:

      Mr. Bored…man…street’s comment is full of horsesh*t. The post doesn’t really speak to the value and effectiveness of the program. It really only addresses a legitimate sanitation issue. So I say… Do a better job of getting rid of the horsesh*t, not the horses; both on our streets and in City Hall while we are at it. Nay-ay-ay-ay-ay!

  8. Bored doesn’t realize that what he actually said was
    MORE HORSES!” If there were 3-4 times as many mounted offices there would be more available to work an area like St. Paul. I wonder if Bored stops on his travels around Park Ave to pick up the litter. Or is horse sh*t his only concern? Sh*t, as he calls it breaks down naturally so long as it isn’t freezing out, unlike a bag of Funions or a Coke bottle. Youth and ignorance, obviously alive and well over on Harvard St. I see.

    • May 1, 2013 at 8:10 am Booored...man...street responds:

      It breaks down, unless it’s the middle of the winter and someone runs over it so you get a nice sh*t pancake in the road. If someone leaves their dogdoo on the sidewalk they can be ticketed, what about the police?
      My point is why are the police horses being wasted walking around an area where they aren’t needed, while there are near-riots on St. Paul at night. They could also use them at night over in the East End. Just not on quiet residential streets with NO activity going on where they are needed.

  9. Right, so we need more horses. If there are currently 7 and they work in pairs that means at most there will be all seven working but more likely there will be 2-4 due to vacations and shift rotations. The PD isn’t allowed to say “you’re working Tuesday night, then Thursday and Friday afternoon, then Saturday night. That isn’t how scheduling works for them and not only can you not crush a person with overtime, the City under Duffy made working overtime equal to being an Al Queda operative.. So how do you solve it? More horses. Nothing controls a crowd better, nothing outruns a horse except motorized vehicles, and nothing is a better pro-police public relations tool. That turds interfere with a person’s walk or bike riding is secondary, but that needs to be addressed by a different department in the city; say something like “here is the route we rode today, send a street sweeper”. And that takes leadership and initiative. Or just strap a GPS to the saddle and have DES download the day’s ride and go clean it up. Pretty simple solutions.

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