- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2016

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - The sheriff’s posse rode into Old Town Saginaw on horseback on Friday, May 20, and plans to visit there again throughout the summer.

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel and three deputies from his office’s Mounted Division, or posse, turned a few heads and drew a crowd when they came trotting up Court near Michigan that Friday morning, The Saginaw News (https://bit.ly/1P0uiKm ) reported.

Federspiel said the posse was doing a security detail at Ojibway Island early and decided to stroll through Old Town and talk to a few people.

“A lot of positive feedback from the business owners,” he said.

The Mounted Division is comprised of 15 people, 12 are volunteers, Federspiel said. Volunteers can go to the sheriff’s office to fill out an application and will go through a process, including a criminal background check and firearm training.

“We are getting a lot of applications,” he said.

Federspiel said he wants to get civilians in the area used to seeing his deputies on horseback and that it was more friendly and cheaper than patrolling in a cruiser.

“There is no interaction in a car,” he said.

The Mounted Division is a nonprofit and is not funded by tax dollars, according to Federspiel.

“For a car, we would have to factor in gas and other expenses, not including the fact that we could be using it in out-county areas,” he said. “This cost the public nothing. They own their own horses.”

Caring for and housing the horses is the owners’ responsibility.

The posse will patrol events in Old Town as well as all of the concerts this summer at FirstMerit Bank Event Park in downtown Saginaw and events at local parks.

“We want people to feel safe,” he said.

But at the same time, Federspiel said he wants people to see his deputies as approachable.

“People want to stop and talk to you like they have been doing all morning,” Federspiel said.

Carrie Ostrander was riding in a car with a relative when they saw the posse posted in Old Town talking with a small group of people.

Ostrander, who lives nearby, said they came back to see the horses.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” she said.

News that the posse will be patrolling the area came as a surprise.

“I have two kids,” she said. “They’ll like it.”

Another passerby said he had never seen law enforcement officers riding horses in the city of Saginaw, though he has in his hometown “back east.”

Federspiel said he plans to use the Mounted Division as much as possible in the city.

___

Information from: The Saginaw News, https://www.mlive.com/saginaw


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