Mounted police on track to return to Duluth

By KBJR News 1

January 28, 2014 Updated Jan 28, 2014 at 7:44 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Some Duluth Police Officers could be getting back in the saddle this summer.

They haven't been seen around Duluth since 2006.

"The horses are a great tool because we're interacting with people, you can see a mounted officer from a great distance and the mounted officer can see you from a great distance." Said Duluth Police Lieutenant, Eric Rish.

But this summer, they're coming back. A unanimous approval by city council of a 24 thousand dollar grant to bring the mounted officers back to the DPD has officers beginning training and they're very excited to do so.

"They are crazy enthusiastic about getting on those horses." Said Rish.

Four officers will begin training in February and in early June, when the horses and officers are ready, they will mostly patrol downtown.

"They'll work predominantly Downtown in the afternoons and they'll be assigned to special event. So, if there's a special event in Morgan Park or West Duluth, they'll be reassigned to work those patrols, but predominantly downtown, being visible, instilling confidence in our citizens that we're out there protecting them." Said Rish.

The push to bring the horses back has been strong with the city receiving tax-deductible grants and private donations of nearly 100 thousand dollars with city administrators all approving as well.

"Nice to have a unanimous decision. I think everybody is behind this." Said Duluth City Council President, Linda Krug.

Their hope is to make downtown interactions with officers more personable.

"People wanted police out, they wanted to see them a bit more, they wanted them out of their cars and now we have, with this idea, it's gonna make a statement." Said Krug.

A statement that will show both citizens and visitors of Duluth a different side to law enforcement.

The mounted patrol will require an annual operating budget of about 30-Thousand Dollars to board, feed and provide medical care for four horses.

Bryce Henry