Posts Tagged ‘mounted patrol’
Is it in the water? Is it in the air? Or is stupidity just highly contagious?
In the Local section of today’s N&R two articles got my attention. On page B2 above the fold Headlines: Gas Prices put police on new wheels. It seems the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is putting police officers on bicycles in order to save money now that the price of gas has gone so high and threatens to go much higher. In fact many cities are turning to or returning to bike patrols in these times of higher gas prices, higher all over prices and tightened city budgets. Greensboro has according to the N&R about 10 officer bikers that are used mainly downtown. It is proven that beside saving money the Bike Patrols are much better for community policing because bikes can go just about anywhere whereas the patrol car is limited to streets.
Bike Patrols are not a novel idea and have always been around to some degree. They became especially popular and their effectiveness was proven in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Then for some reason they went out of style. Some have claimed it was because the police officers themselves disliked being on a bike because of their exposure and the safety hazard of being on the streets with autos.
Now here is where the water, the air or the highly contagious comes in. On page B1 above the fold is the headline: Offer may help mount horse patrol. It seems the Downtown Greensboro. Inc is willing to chip in $25,000 a year to set up and maintain a mounted patrol for down town. (Downtown Greensboro Inc. is the downtown municipal taxing area where the people living in the area or in this case having businesses in the area have agreed to tax themselves for specific improvements they want for their area. The tax is collected with the property taxes and spent by the city exclusively on downtown projects the MTU asks for.)
It seems Fayetteville has a mounted patrol and got our city fathers all excited about the idea. Greensboro invited the Fayetteville Mounted Patrol over to demonstrate the patrols effectiveness even being able to catch speeders. (Yep! I’m sure any horse out there can catch any automobile with four flat tires any day of the week. Now four inflated tires just may make a big difference.)
So the idea was looked at and shelved for a very good reason: mounted patrols are not cheap! The $25,000 the Downtown group is willing to cough up even yearly won’t come near even helping with the costs of maintaining the patrol. There is the usual costs for stable, food, hay, veterinary bills and officer training. Then there is the costs of land to put these stables and corals on which will be somewhere out in the country because no inner city neighborhood is going to allow a smelly stables in their area. This will make transporting the horses to where they will be used an expense (gasoline at $4+ a gallon.) And these are just the minor expenses, as the huge expense is the horses themselves. They must be very highly trained animals to be safe to use in noisy crowds of people pushing up against them and sometimes even poking at them or loud noises such as autos backfiring or horns or even gun shots without the horse reacting in any way until given a signal by the rider. (The rider must also be highly trained.) And these very highly trained horse do not come cheap. The $25,000 wouldn’t come close to purchasing one horse I am sorry to say. Google police patrol horses and check out the prices. And other more pungent costs (or maybe not).
Now since we have established that $25,000 won’t be much more than a drop in the proverbial bucket just what might the costs be and where will our city fathers get it? Mitch Johnson, albeit not the most reliable source for anything, says the city estimates it might take up to $250,000 to set up. No figures were given in this news report for yearly upkeep.
And where is the money for this set up to come from? Well Johnson claims the city will use the federal forfeiture funds. That’s money made when the assets confiscated during drug investigations. Now far be from me to put a damper on this source of money, but it is hoped that the amount of forfeiture funds will decline from year to year as the GPD (in regular squad cars) makes some headway in eliminating the very active and well organized drug scene in Greensboro. Then again given our city fathers mentality it might be that they plan to maintain the drug industry in Greensboro in order to maintain the Mounted Patrol for downtown Greensboro. Ya think?
People, here we are as a nation (perhaps world) hovering on a deep recession heading for a depression as prices of just about everything continues to climb at alarming rates, the voters in Guilford County just passed a huge bond debt, 250,000 of us in Greensboro are being made to pay thru the nose to keep 1000 of us from smelling our garbage even when they built their home next to an already operating landfill, city and county taxes have gone up for the past five years with no let up for property owners to be seen any year soon and we are now considering the possibility of giving our downtown a fancy spancy mounted patrol for the weekends and special events when crowds gather.
I think it is about time for the saner individuals in Greensboro ( all 2 dozen of us) to demand that the city fathers and elected officials and special interest groups be made to stop drinking the water, stop breathing the air and all of them most especially should be made to quarantine themselves in their homes. BB