The Mounted Patrol Unit of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department has almost doubled in horses, thanks to the discontinuation of a similar unit in Forsyth County.
Four patrol horses – three of them thoroughly trained for police work and the other a perfect candidate – were donated to the SCMPD unit when the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office in Cumming, GA, discontinued its mounted patrol this year.
The mounts brought the number of horses in the SCMPD unit to nine and prompted the addition of one officer bringing that number to six.
In addition, the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office sold SCMPD a trailer capable of hauling four of the mounts.
Police Chief Willie Lovett said the additions will present opportunities to expand the use and presence of the mounted patrol.
"Mounted officers have a commanding presence in specific instances that are invaluable to police work and they have a calming effect in others," Lovett said. "We have grown to appreciate their abilities in huge crowds, such as the St. Patrick's Day Festival. And their patrol in neighborhoods is never overlooked by the residents there. Everyone is fully aware their neighborhood is being patrolled when the officer is on horseback.
"We are extremely grateful to Forsyth Sheriff Duane Piper and his department."
Included in the addition is a 17.2 hand, 7-year-old Belgian/Thoroughbred Trakehner named Jackson; a 17.2 hand, 6-year-old Belgian Thoroughbred named Lee; a 16.5 hand, 5-year-old Percheron Shire named Grant; and an 8-year-old, 17 hand Belgian Thoroughbred named Sherman.
Sgt. Eugene Lawhorn, who leads the unit, says the extra mounts can be helpful in allowing horses to be rotated on successive days of patrol. They also allowed the expansion of the unit to six.