RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh Police Mounted Patrol could soon be on the move—to new quarters.
The squad’s current in-town stables in Moore Square have a failing water system, and they’re small for a team of five steeds that offer a service cars, motorcycles and patrol officers on foot can’t.
The mounted officers' four-footed partners spend their nights in a more rural facility, but Moore Square is their on-duty home, the place where officers saddle up their mounts and un-tack at the end of the shifts during which they provide a unique asset.
"They can see things that officers on the ground or on foot cannot see," Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue explained.
Mounted patrols also help just by being present.
"The fact that police are present is a deterrent to crime, so the fact that the horses are visible certainly plays into that role,” Sughrue said.
The unit’s officers are usually in the saddle about six hours a day, day or night. They don’t mind that, but the non-patrol hours are a challenger.
"If a city has a mounted patrol, then they have to have a special place where the horses can go," Sughrue said.
"We're looking at having the daytime facility on West Hargett Street,” Mayor Charles Meeker said. “There's currently a negotiation going on so they would actually have their equipment there and easier access to downtown."
Meeker said he cannot talk about specifics, but he confirmed that a lease for a new building is being discussed.
"The horses need to have a place where their materials can be left, and also they patrol some of the adjacent neighborhoods,” Meeker said.