Since 1998, the Kingston Police Mounted Unit has been a feature of the downtown area during the pleasant weather seasons. This year, due to “multiple challenges and the availability of trained staff” the program was not renewed.
“It was wonderful to have a mounted unit as part of our contingent, but we needed to make some challenging decisions to support staffing needs and public safety throughout the City,” said Scott Fraser, Acting Chief of Police. “Public safety is our top priority.”
For the past few years, Kingston Police have been asking for donations to support the care and training for Murney, the current police horse for the Mounted Unit. Murney lives in a stable and requires safe quarters year-round. According to a release from Kingston Police, with contributions from Downtown Kingston BIA, TD Bank, and numerous community members, more than $61,000 in donations was raised to cover expenses for 2021 and 2022.
“Although new to my role, it has been inspiring to see so many people support Murney on Patrol the past two years,” said Fraser. “We are grateful for the hard work of everyone involved.”
“We also wish to express our appreciation for all of the time and resources that Brad and Deb Wicklam, both retired Kingston Police officers who founded the unit, invested into this program over the years,” Fraser continued. “Their dedication to the Mounted Unit along with previous riders, Sgt. Sarah Groenewegen, and Cst. Amy Carter, was integral to its success.”
Kingston Police said that the money paid for room and board, feed, grooming, hoof care/shoeing, veterinary services and training, however, did not go toward salaries or other administrative costs.
Kingstonist has inquiried with Kingston Police as to the total amount of money raised by the community since 2021 to support the Mounted Unit, as well as if anything other than staffing issues contributed to the termination of the program. Response was not immediately received by time of publication. Kingstonist will update this article if/when more information becomes available.