SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Dept.'s Mounted Patrol Unit is doubling in size thanks to a donation of horses from a unit in Cumming, Ga.
A similar patrol unit was discontinued last year at the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, according to SCMPD. Four patrol horses were donated and three of them have been trained for police work.
SCMPD's Mounted Patrol Unit now has nine horses and one more officer has been added.
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office also sold SCMPD a trailer that can transport four horses.
"Mounted officers have a commanding presence in specific instances that are invaluable to police work and they have a calming effect in others," said Police Chief Willie Lovett in a statement. "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.
Sgt. Gene Lawhorn, who leads the unit, said the new horses will allow the horses to be rotated out after successive days of patrol.
"We can send more teams to different areas now - it gives us that availability to do that - and it also gives us in the evening times well be able to patrol at different times of the day," Lawhorn said.