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Saturday, February 1, 2014


A crowd gathers around Daley and Hartford Police Mounted Officer Flynn

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the "luxury" of the Hartford Mounted Police Unit. Today I was at the last day of skating at the Winterfest Ice Rink in Bushnell Park.  I was watching as Mayor Segarra arrived at the rink. There wasn't even much notice by most in attendance, a few people approached him for the obligatory hellos and handshakes.
A child petting the nose of Cody in Bushnell Park

A short time later, two horses and officers from the mounted unit arrived. Immediately many in the crowd migrated to the sidewalk where the horses were standing. Both children and adults began petting the horses and talking to the police officers sitting high above the crowd . The rapid fire questions to the officers were interesting for a few reasons. has the horse ever caught a criminal? Yes we chased down a robbery suspect on Albany Avenue. Where do the horses live? We have a great stable on Albany Ave with a large paddock area for them to exercise. Do you ride them here? No today we trailered them here.

A man and his horse. Hartford Police Chief James Rovella nnd Daley discussing the HPD Budget

It dawned on me as I listened that this may be the first interaction for most of these children and maybe even adults with a Police Officer. How do you put a price on the value of that contact? I have never seen anyone approach an officer in a cruiser as quickly as they did to an officer on horseback. Hopefully that will be an image the people will remember for years and realize that police officers are actually pretty decent people and not something to be feared.

How can any Councilperson or budgetary wonk put a price on that. The mounted police may be a luxury but a luxury we need and a luxury we need to find a way to afford. I didn't see anyone approaching the Mayor's scheduler to pet his nose as he accompanied  Segarra on the ice. Now there is a luxury we can't afford..

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