KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- It took nearly an hour to listen to the public comments asking Chief Richard Smith and the board of police commissioners to keep the mounted patrol.
Many are part of the nonprofit that raises money to supplement the unit's equipment and upkeep costs. They've given nearly half a million dollars since 2006.
“I was glad to see the show of support,” Emily McLeod, who is a veterinarian, said.
McLeod offers monthly veterinary care to the horses free of charge.
“They wouldn't realize what they were giving up until it's gone,” McLeod said.
Some were former mounted officers sharing success stories from their time in the saddle.
“It opened doors for us that were never opened,” Charles Porch, who is a former Mounted officer, said.
The city currently uses the mounted patrol to control crowds in areas like the Plaza, where people might be more likely to approach an officer on a horse than in a car.
“I'd ride through neighborhoods in patrol cars and people would go inside. I'd go back on a horse and they'd come out in droves,” Porch said.
The board did not reach a decision on the mounted patrol Tuesday. Smith said the city is considering the cost of the unit and its effectiveness.
“As everyone knows, we have a violent crime issue in Kansas City,” Smith said.
Each year the city spends around $50,000 on upkeep and supplies for the horses.
“This is about the right balance for the police department at this time,” Smith said.
Smith acknowledged the unit's role as ambassadors for the police department. The speakers Tuesday told the board their presence is invaluable.
“I'm afraid it's going to come down to a spreadsheet, which is a shame,” McLeod said.