Staff Shortages Lead to Suspended Columbia Mounted Police Unit
The Columbia Police Department has disbanded its mounted and motorcycle units due to staff shortages. All but one motorcycle officer has been switched over to standard car patrol.
“The mounted unit and the motor unit both played very important functions in the police department," CPD spokesman and mounted unit member Sgt. Bob Dochler said. "However, they were luxury items, and our main priority as a police department is to meet the needs of our public when they call for help,”
Mounted units are usually used for special events and public appearances, but this part-time unit was filled with officers with other full-time duties. These units caused officers to be pulled from patrol duties, and often resulted in overtime pay that became costly to the department.
“It basically just came back to overtime to get mounted officers to work extra duty. So, until staffing levels are back to a range where we can afford those luxuries they will be suspended,” Dochler said.
According to Dochler, the horses used in the mounted unit are owned by the officers themselves, and they will still be used for recreational riding until they are called back into service.