If you are a fan of the RPD's Mounted Patrol, you may want to attend a hearing at City Hall Wed. at 5:30 to save the horses. Thanks to Alexis Arnold at 13WHAM News for sharing this:
Saving Rochester Police Department's Mounted Patrol
You’ve seen them at many summer festivals and used to control crowds outside downtown bars.
But in May, Mayor Tom Richards said the money used for seven police officers to man horses for RPD’s Mounted Patrol Unit could be better spent.
"There are other ways to deal with the Liberty Pole issue and other ways to deal with the issues on the East End but to gain seven officers who can be involved in gang violence, I would have to raise another million dollars,” Mayor Richards told 13WHAM News during his budget proposal in May.
Michael Mazzeo, President of the Rochester Police Locust Club calls the unit a valuable resource the city should look to build, not cut.
“Put them in the neighborhoods, use them as a crime strategy to reduce some of the violence we've seen in the neighborhood,” Mazzeo said.
Mazzeo said, “One horse can take the place of five to ten officers. We can put ten to fifteen officers in a crowded situation and you don't even see them but you bring one to two horses in and you can move a crowd with ease.”
Gina Stein started a petition and Facebook page to save the mounted patrol.
“I thought that was something that would be a detriment to our city,” Stein said.
Stein is spreading the word about a public hearing the city is holding this week.
“What I want to let people know is that this is the chance that they need, if they really feel that they are a huge asset that they need to attend this meeting,” Stein said.
It’s a meeting that will likely draw different opinions.
“As a city resident, specifically Park and Oxford and I'm downtown all the time I would like to see them kept. I feel safe when I see them,” city resident Wayne Oliver said.
“I think it will save the taxpayers a little bit of money it doesn't seem they do too much,” city resident Peter Martin said.
City Councilwoman Carolee Conklin tells 13WHAM News it's too early to tell how much the unit cuts will save.
The money saved will be the costs of care for the horses.
Under the Mayor's proposal, the horses would be sold.
The seven officers will be re-deployed to the tactical unit.
The public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.