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Charleston Police to re-establish mounted patrol unit

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 3:28 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 11:37 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston City Council approved a plan Tuesday to bring back the Charleston Police Department’s mounted patrol.

The plan involves an agreement between Charleston Police and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the Visitors Bureau will be funding the mounted patrol unit for a year, according to the council agenda.

Police say there will be two police horses in the unit that will be housed downtown at the Visitors Bureau.

The Charleston Police Department had a mounted unit for more than 30 years before it was shut down back in 2011 because of budgetary reasons.

With this new agreement, the Visitors Bureau will be buying the horses and paying for their care, the equipment needed and other expenses for an entire year, beginning in December of 2021 until the end of 2022.

Deputy Chief Dustin Thompson said he is thrilled to be able to re-establish the unit. He said the mounted patrol unit will patrol the downtown area and city parks, help with crowd management and provide another way to connect with the community.

“Not only is it good for our city—it’s a part of our history—but also, it’s good for recruiting, it’s good for tourism,” he said. “Everyone wants to see the horses out there. Again, they are a crime prevention tool. I want everyone to understand that. There’s so many other benefits to having a mounted horse patrol unit here.”

Deputy Chief Thompson says they do hope to expand the unit and be able to keep it around beyond 2022. He said they will be closely monitoring the cost of the horses to determine how they could continue to fund the mounted patrol unit after next year, whether through the city or other private donations.

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