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Mounted horse patrols coming to Forest Park

Extra police patrols have been assigned to Forest Park in Springfield again this year to enhance public safety during the warmer weather months.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Extra police patrols have been assigned to Forest Park in Springfield again this year to enhance public safety during the warmer weather months, but new this time is a mounted unit of horses.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno gathered at the park on Tuesday with Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, and Springfield’s Executive Director of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation Pat Sullivan.

Officials said they’re excited to continue what they’re calling “a unique and innovative partnership” where the Springfield Police Department and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department work hand-in-hand to patrol the park.

The partnership has been ongoing for the last three years and Sarno said it has been popular with the community and they might look to expand it to other parks in the future. He told Western Mass News that, in the past, effots have included landscaping, carpentry, and learning new skills and this year, they’re adding a mounted patrol unit of horses and an emotional support division of therapy dogs.

Cocchi said his deputies have developed a great relationship with park regulars through their interactions, which Sarno told us is a win-win.

“It’s all about building relationships and the interaction with our dedicated and brave men and women and blue and the sheriff’s department, their interaction with our public. This is more about relationships and hospitality than it is about public safety,” Sarno explained.

Shift times will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The sheriff’s department patrols will run until November 30.