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Mounted Police Stables Reopen in Forest Park

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March 16, 2011-On Monday, there were several inches of snow on the ground and the temperature hovered around freezing.  Less than 48 hours later, people are running, biking, and walking their dogs through Forest Park, many in shorts and T-shirts. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

March 16, 2011-On Monday, there were several inches of snow on the ground and the temperature hovered around freezing. Less than 48 hours later, people are running, biking, and walking their dogs through Forest Park, many in shorts and T-shirts. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A familiar landmark in Forest Park, dating back to 1893 and visible from Interstate 64, is back open for business.

The St. Louis Mounted Police stables had been shuttered after lead paint was discovered in 2009 but the remediation is now complete, thanks to an endowment from Forest Park Forever.

Today, the unit has fewer horses. Lt. Carlos Ross says there are three police officers and one park ranger certified to ride but he hopes to increase that number.

“We’re in the process of trying to come up with a training program for a couple of my officers who are already patrolling Forest Park. It’s just a different aspect of it, they can either be on horseback or in the vehicle,” Ross said.

The certification program takes eight weeks. The department now has six horses and four mounted police officers in total.

“When I have vacancies and I try to bring in officers, one of the questions I ask potential candidates who will patrol Forest Park or who will be a part of traffic safety is their willingness and their knowledge of horses,” Ross added. “Willingness to ride a horse, that’s one of my criteria.”

The St. Louis Mounted Police Unit dates back to its creation by the Missouri Legislature in 1867. The unit was disbanded in 1948 but reestablished in 1970.

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