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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, August 30, 2002

Police to expand mounted patrol unit

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

Honolulu police may soon be back in the saddle again.

The department, which plans to expand its mounted patrol by the end of the year, has asked officers to apply for the horse unit.

Corralled by budget cuts last year, the mounted unit program has recently been down to two officers, but will expand to six staff positions, according to Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

The mounted patrol unit was formed in September 2000 and was used during last year's Asian Development Bank conference in Waikiki.

The horses are trained for crowd-control operations and to patrol parks and beaches.

The horse unit has captivated animal-loving children and adults alike, making it a community relations asset for the department. It has also enabled officers to patrol areas inaccessible by squad cars.

But without enough money last year to operate full-time, the original 10-officer team was down to four in July 2001.

Yu said the department is trying to decide whether to elevate the six staff positions to full-time status.

The unit's members now ride on a part-time, as-needed basis, while otherwise fulfilling regular patrol duties in squad cars.

A fitness test is scheduled today for interested officers, with applicants required to pass a 16-week horse-riding course to begin in October.

The horses in the program usually are owned and tended by the officers themselves.

Reach Scott Ishikawa at sishikawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2429.