Mounted horse patrol could be cut from Charleston budget

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston has had a mounted horse patrol since 1978. The patrol has been great for crowd control, patrolling parks and good for public relations, but the patrol may be eliminated to save money.

"They go out to schools and parades and things like that," said Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis.

Francis says these mounted officers have an advantage when it comes to dealing with the community.

"A couple of years ago he was in a neighborhood and saw a mother and a son and they were very hostile, even the son, and he didn't know why. The next time he saw them he was on the horse patrol on the horse and it was totally different he was so happy to see him and see the horse," Francis said.

Now, the department may be doing away with the program all together, effective in the spring of next year.

The patrol is already smaller than before. In years past, the patrol numbered 10 officers and 12 different horses.

The department has six different horses they keep at the stables at Hampton Park. They are all different breeds and sizes."

Nixing the program would save $125,000 that could be spent somewhere else.

"Half the ammunition budget or the weed and seed budget," Francis said.

Francis says the Charleston City Council and the chief of police will make the final decision. He added that if the program is shut down, the horses will go to good homes.

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