Newport officers will patrol on horseback during special events

On one of the most quintessential American days of the year, the Newport Beach Police Department will take a cue from Canada by sending officers on horseback to keep an eye on festivities, a department news release said.

The program, which will deploy mounted officers to patrol large community events, including Fourth of July celebrations, is the result of a cooperative effort between the city's police force and the Orange County Regional Mounted Enforcement Unit.

The OCRMEU involves collaboration from the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the police departments of Anaheim, Buena Park, Garden Grove and Santa Ana, along with Newport's.

Mounted officers have the benefit not only of a high vantage point, but their visibility can also provide a deterrent to criminals and lend a sense of safety to crowded events, the release said. They can also patrol areas that are inaccessible to cars or other vehicles.

According to the release, NBPD officers will take on mounted enforcement as an "ancillary duty," in addition to their primary assignments, after attending a 40-hour training course. Officers will pay for all costs that come with taking care of the horses, the release said. Officers in the unit also supply their own horse, saddle, tack and horse trailer for transportation.

— Jill Cowan

Twitter: @jillcowan

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