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.
“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.
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