STOCKTON (CBS13) – There is a new police unit making the rounds in the City of Stockton assigned to fight crime and help keep the community safe.
The mounted patrol unit has officially returned after an almost ten-year hiatus.
It may be difficult for officers to see crime taking place in a busy parking lot, but a new patrol unit in Stockton is giving officers a unique vantage point to fighting crime.
“They can see over cars. They can see over multiple cars, and farther in the parking lot than we can. So, if something does go wrong, they are going to see it before we do,” Said Sgt. Chuck Harris of the Stockton Police Department.
Five years before the City of Stockton filed bankruptcy, several programs including the Stockton mounted police unit were cut. But almost ten years later it’s back up and running.
“It’s not every day that you see horses in Stockton,” said Harris.
There are six officers and six horses assigned to the unit. There is no real cost to the city, but officers do have to pay close to five thousand dollars out of pocket to help maintain the animals.
“It is a lot different than being in a patrol car, the training that goes into having a horse is quite intensive because the rider has to learn the horse and the horse has to learn the rider,” he said.
With the help of his horse Rek, detective Paul Dona is able to see about five feet higher than we would on foot and moving fast from one place to another.
“Yeah, we get these horses to trout, so they are moving pretty quick,” said Dona.
Gunshots, flares and sires are just some of the elements used in training. It helps the horses get used to the sounds they may encounter. It also prepares their partners with their new working relationship.
Each horse is kept by the individual officer at their home or at a boarding facility.
The unit plans to be out in full force in the coming weeks.