Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A New Crime Fighter, for $10 in Hay and Oats - New York Times

A New Crime Fighter, for $10 in Hay and Oats - New York Times

New York is bringing back it's mounted patrol in a big way.
After decades of being viewed as a quaint 19th-century throwback, horseback policing is undergoing a resurgence in cities like Honolulu, Las Vegas and Oklahoma City. Law enforcement officials have come to appreciate the tactical and economic advantages of a mobile crime-fighting force whose members cost one-fifth the price of a Crown Victoria cruiser.

Daily maintenance? About $10 a day for hay, grain and bedding material. "Sure beats the price of gas," said Lt. David Gaynor, who oversees the stables in the Bronx where horses are tested and trained. "And they don't give off carbon monoxide."
Did Detroit get it wrong? According to American Police Beat they did.
Detroit disbanded its 112-year-old mounted police unit a couple of months ago. A local businessman, Bob Raisch, is raising donations to try to bring it back.

"They're the best crowd-control device ever invented," Raisch said. "More than that, it's just the feeling of security and well-being and sophistication that a mounted policeman conveys to both citizens and visitors."

But those advantages cost lots of money. Horses require food and veterinary care, and run up boarding costs and expenses.

With gas prices climbing to record highs, Sgt. Jay Postlewaite, the head of the Lexington, kentucky, mounted police unit, thinks horses are a bargain when you compare the cost of fleet maintenance to the price of taking care of an animal.

"Over a 10-year period you're still going to pay less to maintain a horse than a car," he told the Associated Press. "Where the car tends to depreciate with time and wear, the horses actually get a little better with time and experience."

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