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Mounted Police Ready to Patrol Duluth Streets

Updated: 05/29/2014 10:31 PM
Created: 05/29/2014 9:35 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson

After a 10-year hiatus, the police horses are back and ready to patrol Duluth streets. Jimmy, Maggie, Ranger, and Rocky are the Duluth Police Department's newest officers and they'll be on the clock before Grandma's Marathon.

The four horses already have police work experience because the department bought the horses from a disbanded mounted patrol in the Twin Cities. Now, the horses need to get to know their new home.

Rocky, a quarter horse, is officer Craig Lindberg's new partner. Together, Lindberg said, they bring a whole new aspect to policing.

"Whether we have vehicle prowls or burglaries in an area, we can go out on the horses. It gives a better vantage, I mean, I can see a lot farther than you can see on the ground," explained Lindberg.

The mounted patrol unit has been training since February. Now they are just weeks away from their first big event: Grandma's Marathon. Thursday, the team was training around Bayfront Festival Park to get accustomed to the sights and sounds of the city.

The team will be saddled up when Duluth draws the big crowds, but they'll also do regular patrols.

Officer Lindberg said there are a few things to be aware of when getting close to a police horse.

"Always approach the horse and the officer from an angle where you can be seen. Never come running up to a horse and officer," he said. "If you want to pet the horse always ask the officer if you can...people need to remember these are working animals."

After two decades with the department, officer Jim Matson has traded in his squad car for Maggie, a Morgan-Belgian mix.

"The cool thing with them is we can go wherever they need us," he said.

Matson explained an officer on horse is equal to about 10 officers on foot.

"We can move through areas a lot slower, we're up a lot higher, we can see a lot more, and we're a lot more visible," said Matson.

The Duluth Police Department purchased the four horses, truck, and trailer from the Three Rivers Park District in Hennepin County for around $40,000. The cost was covered by grants and community donations.

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