Volunteers Saddle Up for Holiday Horse Patrols | NBC Bay Area

Volunteers Saddle Up for Holiday Horse Patrols

Police in Riverside are getting some extra horsepower to help keep holiday shoppers safe. Volunteers are donating their time and horses to patrol mall parking lots.

Updated 6:36 AM PDT, Tue, Nov 22, 2011

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The Riverside Police Department will be receiving some extra horsepower this holiday season.

Horse owners in in the area are volunteering to be part of a citizen patrol-- riding on horseback to keep an eye on shopping mall parking lots during the holiday season.

The help is free and the volunteer's uniforms and gear were all purchased with drug forfeiture money, police said.

"The volunteers bring their horses, they have the transportation, they're feeding them, they're housing them on a daily basis," said Chief Sergio Diaz of the Riverside Police Department.

Eight volunteers will be providing assistance to police and remain in constant radio contact with them in case trouble arises.

"They're so remarkably adept at crowd control kinds of issues and I think it's because of the sheer size of the animal," said Mike Gardner, Ward 1 Councilmember.

The volunteers agree.

"We can see more of a distance out when we're looking for something where they can't see that in a squad car," according to Diane Mooney, a police volunteer.

The hoofed patrols will continue during the entire month of December and will be on hand at the Festival of Lights lighting ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving.

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First Published: Nov 21, 2011 5:50 PM PDT

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