Seattle Police Department gets two new police horses

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The Seattle Police Department welcomed two new officers to the force on Thursday.

You may see two new police horses walking around local parks.

Officers said the horses are a huge asset because they can go where patrol cars can’t.

“The horses can walk in a human footprint. What I mean by that is a patrol vehicle can’t get up in these woods back here, but one of these horses can go with an officer or officers back through these paths and these trails to access areas that generally, you won’t get to with a patrol car,” said Lt. Kevin Nelson with the Seattle Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit.

And aside from the mounted patrols discouraging crime, the horses draw a lot of attention, which police said is key to breaking down barriers between police officers and members of the community.

“Many members of the community — they’re walking up, wanting to pet the horses, want to interact,” said Lt. Nelson. “Those conversations turn into real conversations, actual real community policing where they are able to ask us questions about what’s going on in the area.”

The department nearly lost the mounted patrol unit in 2009 because of budget constraints, but the Seattle Police Foundation launched a fundraising campaign and provided funds to maintain the horses.

The foundation also funded the two new horses.

Officers said if you see mounted patrols in a city park, be sure to stop by and say hello.