Duluth Police Chief Eyeing Comeback of Mounted Horse Patrols

By KBJR News 1

August 23, 2013 Updated Aug 23, 2013 at 5:12 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Chief Ramsay met with Mayor Don Ness on Friday to discuss the possibility of bringing back mounted police.

The chief told us the police department recently received donations upwards of $65,000 to kick start the program, but he and the city are working together to find a way to sustain the horse patrols

Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay has wanted to bring back mounted horse patrols since 2006.

"An officer on a horse is equivalent to about 5 or 6. They get around quicker. They have a presence, they are a great tool for crowds and they make people feel safe, and ultimately that's our job- to make people feel safe," said Ramsay.

The main thing standing in the way is a lack of a funding.

"We need about $50,000 a year for space rent and horse maintenance and veterinary costs and what not," said Ramsay.

Mayor Ness says the city is looking at using tourism dollars to help with operational costs, but he has challenged Ramsay to come up with the remaining funds.

"I've challenged him to go out and find the private financing especially for those startup costs to lessen the cost to the taxpayers," said Ness.

Ness feels the patrols would have a positive and a practical impact on the city.

"They have that extra height both from a visibility standpoint being able to see far as well as kind of that position of authority and addressing a problematic area," said Ness.

Chief Ramsay hopes the program will help clean up the image of downtown Duluth.

"We have a perception issue downtown with crime and we are working very hard to change that and I believe that mounted patrol will really help change the perception and feel of downtown.," said Ramsay.

The public support and city backing could mean it might only be a matter of time until we see horse patrols back on the streets of Duluth.

Ramsay said his goal is to have the patrols in action by late this year or spring of next year.

The department is seeking donations to buy horses and is still trying to find a facility to stable them.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com