Police Chief on cutting city’s horse force? Neigh! But prisoner meals may be targeted.

The City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee Wednesday sat down with Police Chief Joseph Gaudett and members of his staff to pick apart the proposed 2013-14 cop budget.

The group is trying to find ways to cut Mayor Bill Finch’s average, $400 tax hike.

Weighty topics, such as police staffing, overtime and sick leave were discussed at length Wednesday with Gaudett. But the council scrutiny inevitably always leads to interesting discussions with various department heads on quirkier areas of the budget as well.

At one point Wednesday Councilman John Olson, D-132, suggested perhaps the police force no longer needs seven horses.


“I love the horses (but) is this something we can afford to do?” Olson said.

Gaudett left no doubt how he feels about the horses, the six officers who take care of and ride the animals, and the unit’s contributions to law enforcement.

“Our mounted unit is not ceremonial,” Gaudett said.

From handing out speeding tickets (yes, it happened, said Gaudett) to crowd management (“Nobody talks back to a horse”) the chief insisted the mounted cops are invaluable to his department.

At another point in the discussion, Gaudett suggested another potential area for cost savings – his $50,000 budget for the sandwiches and milk fed to prisoners.

Turns out that for years the department put the contract out to bid and, for years, only one restaurant came forward – Frankie’s Diner.

Gaudett said his staff has suggested instead using the public schools’ in-house food service, which could halve the $50,000 price. However the department would need to invest in a refrigerator.

The council appeared interested.







Categories: General
Brian Lockhart

6 Responses

  1. lck says:

    Does anyone know what the mounted patrol costs?

  2. Pearl says:

    What lovely horses! Has the police force ever retired their animals??? If they need a good home when their duties come to an end, I’d like to offer them one…

  3. RLV says:

    The horses are cute and quaint, but in these (hard) times,
    hmm? Get private donations for this luxury.

  4. Hammond Egger says:

    A complete and total waste of money.The egomaniac Joe Ganim brought the horses in yrs ago.We don’t need mounted patrols in Bpt.Gaudett is clueless.He needs to go.He still hasn’t fired the 3 thugs from the Beardsley Park beatdown.As the late great wrestling commentator Gorilla Monsoon used to say..”Do SOMETHING!Even if it’s wrong !”

  5. Phil Torres says:

    wonder how much Frankie donates to the machine

  6. Steve K says:

    You see the horses often at the Arena where they have a view above the crowd which gives them a big advantage. Any time there is a crowd the horses will be a big help. Good image for the police.