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City mounted police hope to connect with the community


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    WATERBURY, Connecticut (WFSB) — Horses are helping out with patrols in Waterbury.

The Waterbury Police Department has the only mounted police unit in the State of Connecticut.

Downtown Waterbury is one of the many areas people could run into Sherlock and Robert. The two horses are part of the department’s mounted unit, which started in 2017.

Both horses are in their late teens.

They wear their Waterbury police badges, go out on neighborhood patrols year-round, visit schools and attend other functions in the city.

Officers Dan Jones and Shaun Goggins are assigned full time to the unit.

“Normally, a lot of people don’t walk up to us if we’re just walking the beat, but you bring these two rock stars out and people love it,” Goggins said. “They want to come up, pet the horses, just talk to us start a conversation.”

Those conversations are aimed at improving relationships between law enforcement and the community.

“They’re very approachable,” Jones said. “People want to come up and see them. There’s something very calming and soothing about them. Then you have that dialogue, and you have that conversation and realize, we’re all just the same.”

The conversations can also provide police with helpful intel.

“We have a great relationship with our community groups and they help us solve crimes,” said Capt. Steven Gilmore, Waterbury Police Department. “Without the community, we’re not effective.”

On horseback, mounted unit officers said they can cover a lot of ground and see more, as opposed to being in a police car or walking a beat.

“It’s such a useful tool,” Goggins said. “Like we can patrol the mall parking lot per se. We can see very far being up high.”

The community relations division headquarters is where the horses are fed and groomed.

Then they go out on their assignment for the day, as the weather permits.

Officer’s hope with the help of Sherlock and Robert, people in the community can see a different side of law enforcement.

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