ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque police on horseback have been a fixture downtown for years, but the department wants them to do more. The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is now increasing its presence of mounted patrols in the downtown area.

APD Officer Rob DeBuck said the initiative is all part of the department’s efforts to help revitalize downtown.

“We want to be a bridge. We want these horses to be a bridge between the police department and people we are interacting with. When they are petting the horse, at that moment, we are not the enemy. We are not the cop; we are a person. We are a human being, and our interactions are very friendly,” said DeBuck.

People downtown said they welcome the approach, and it makes them feel safer to see officers on horseback ready to de-escalate any situation that could arise.

“It’s a good idea for them to be out here just because there is a lot of crimes going on, especially with the homeless around the area,” said Eugenia Enriquez.

Story continues below:

APD’s Mounted Patrol, which consists of 12 horses, has patrolled the area of downtown for years. Now, they’ll be out more often to serve as a deterrent and help with outreach.

The Horse-Mounted Patrol Unit said it is looking to have a presence downtown at least twice a week during the day and, at times, during the night.