ST PAUL, Minn. — The Saint Paul Police Department has used horses as a means of patrolling streets since 1856.
But now, the department will no longer use horses and motorcycles.
Spokesperson Steve Linders calls the decision "incredibly tough." He cited three reasons for the change: the growing risk of distracted driving, more calls for service and office safety.
The department expects to save about $70,000, but Linders says that's not the main reason behind the change.
Instead, it's about officer safety.
"We've had 23 officers in the last four years injured. Eight on horseback and 15 on motorcycles," Linders said. "One of the motorcycle officers actually lost his career because he was hurt so badly so this is more about officer safety than any other factor."
Linders says three officers will now work full-time on distracted-driving issues. The remaining officers will be used for patrol in neighborhoods.
The department has six horses, three of which were donated. Those horses will go back to those donors, and Linders says they're looking for safe and caring homes for the remaining three.
He says there is interest from other sheriff's offices.
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