PPB to disband Mounted Patrol Unit after funding cut from next y - KPTV - FOX 12

PPB to disband Mounted Patrol Unit after funding cut from next year's city budget

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Beginning July 1, the Portland Police Bureau will disband its Mounted Patrol Unit.

The Mounted Patrol Unit was not funded in next year's city budget, which was recently passed by City Commissioners.

In recent years, the mounted patrol has focused primarily on community policing and community engagement.

"Last year, we talked to about 14,000 people while we were out on patrol," said Sgt. Martin Schell, who heads up the mounted patrol.

Greg Mack, a retired mounted patrol officer who spent more than 20 years on horseback, thinks the city is making a mistake.

"It is a nightmare. It does not make any sense to me," said Mack.

Mack said the horses offered him access to community members who might not otherwise have interacted with a police officer.

"Once they start petting the horse, it kind of breaks the ice and you're able to talk to them and find out things," said Mack.

Robert Ball, a Portland Real Estate Developer and reserve police officer, worked to convince city leaders to save the mounted patrol. His organization, Friends of the Mounted Patrol, raised more than $400,000 to build the horses a new stable, and gathered more than 3,000 signatures on a petition to save the mounted patrol.

"They're ambassadors for the city. They get the public to come up and talk to the police officers. People love the horses," said Ball.

According to Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the police bureau, the officers assigned to the mounted patrol will be re-assigned to other roles in the bureau.

Simpson said it's not yet clear what will become of the horses.

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