DETROIT (WWJ) – These crime fighters stand more than seven feet tall and weigh more than a thousand pounds — and kids love them.
The Detroit Police Mounted Division was founded in 1893, making it one of the oldest in the country. The unit closed after it became the victim of budget troubles in 2005. Three years later the unit was resurrected thanks to help from the Rescue the Horse Foundation and the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.
Today, Sgt. Eric Eide (seen in the photo with “Tiny”) runs the unit of eight officers and five horses. The unit operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each horse receives eight months of training and officers volunteer for duty but must meet rigorous standards.
“No one ever asks to pet your bike or patrol car, but people love petting this police horse,” said Eide, adding that that simple act can create a vital link between citizens and police.
The horses can chase bad guys, stop speeders and control crowds without using a drop of gasoline.
Eide said he and the other officers love working with the horses, “You better love it, it gets very cold in January and very hot in August!”
The officers’ salaries and facilities are paid for by the city, the upkeep of the horses paid for by the foundations.