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Mounted patrol unit returns to Meridian

The Meridian Police Department use to have a mounted patrol years ago. Now, they have two full...
The Meridian Police Department use to have a mounted patrol years ago. Now, they have two full time mounted patrol police officers.(WTOK)
Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 3:01 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Officers with the Meridian Police Department typically respond to calls in a cruiser or motorcycle.

Add horseback to the list of preferred transportation. There are now two officers working in the department’s mounted patrol unit.

“As the chief of police, I am excited to bring this back. I started in 1999 when we had mounted patrol and it was exciting. I’m looking forward to bringing this back,” said Chief Chris Read.

The two horses are Clydesdales. The animals stand at a towering six feet tall. The horses are named Blaze and Maverick.

The Mounted Patrol Unit made its first appearance at a Christmas Toy Drive in Marion.

“The kid’s response was outstanding. They were excited about and they just loved it. It’s just another step in investing in young people’s lives. This is us moving forward as a city and a community coming together,” said Chief Read.

The mounted unit will primarily patrol in downtown Meridian. Chief Read said the horses are a great public relations and marketing tool for the department. The mounted unit will also give the department additional mobility and provide increased police presence in downtown. Read also said the horses will be very useful in crowd-control situations.

“There are two reasons why I wanted to bring the mounted patrol unit back to the Meridian Police Department. The first reason is the officer presence in our downtown district that’s being revitalized. I know the business owners that I’ve been speaking with. They are super excited. The other reason is that we are being our explorer program back. I look at it as an opportunity to invest in young kids lives,” said Read

Read said the unit will make its “official” debut in February.

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