KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Effective Tuesday, there is no more mounted patrol at the Kansas City Police Department.
The horses may go back to the people who donated them as soon as this afternoon. The stable that housed the Mounted Patrol is owned by Kansas City Parks and Recreation.
The eight officers that were assigned to the until will all be reassigned into patrol divisions, like homicide, because there is a shortage.
The city used the mounted patrol to control crowds in areas like the Country Club Plaza, where people might be more likely to approach an officer on a horse than in a car.
Each year the city spent around $50,000 on upkeep and supplies for the horses.
In a statement from the KCPD, Chief Richard Smith noted that the decision came down to resources and trying to best tackle the growing number of homicides in the city.
“Reducing violent crime is my top priority, and the Board has communicated that is theirs, as well,” Smith said. “This decision is based solely on putting our limited resources where they are most needed to address that priority.”
The statement noted that Kansas City has 11 more homicides this year than the same time in 2018 and that October saw 27 drive-by shooting with 51 victims. It also stated the department has 42 officer vacancies.
Smith did mention the work the Mounted Patrol did working with the community and noted said the department was looking to explore options for a possible multi-jurisdictional Mounted Patrol concept.
AliceLee Hollister has been with the friends of KC Mounted Patrol for as long as the unit has existed. She’s helped raise nearly half a million dollars over the last 13 years for the unit she calls the real community police and Tuesday, she is heartbroken.
“The hurtful thing is the officers. The horses, one horse already has a home to go to, several of them have been donated, they’ll go back, they’ll be no problem but it’s the officers, it’s what’s been done to the officers,” Hollister said.
It’s not as simple as moving desks or changing buildings. Hollister says these officers have worked hard to form trusted relationships and bonds with these horses and the horses with them.
While Hollister understands the reasoning behind it, she wishes officers could’ve been pulled from several different areas rather than focusing on one unit.
“I can see that point, but you don’t close down a whole division to do it, it just makes no sense,” Hollister said.
Hollister said she has spent the day canceling upcoming fundraisers that people were planning on attending and donating too. Those officers will all be reassigned by the end of the year.