Hendersonville uses mounted patrols to keep eye on busy parking lots

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Some four-legged police officers are stepping up patrol in area shopping centers for the holiday season.

“This time of year we are just transitioning into the retail areas,” explained Officer Jeff Duren with Hendersonville’s mounted patrol. “We are going to focus, especially during the Christmas shopping season, on retail centers and we have six of them right here in this area that we will focus on and hit each one of them every day.”

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

This week, officers and their horses are patrolling the Walmart parking lot.

“We are trying to deter crime,” he said.

At about 10 feet tall, Officer Duren told News 2 the height advantage helps keep an eye on criminal activity.

“Car break-ins, that kind of thing, always goes up right before Christmas during the shopping season so our effort is to prevent that and to keep the crime rate lower and just make it a safer shopping season,” Duren said.

Officer Duren said taking the horses out of their natural environment requires extensive training, often at least a year long

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

“They have to be able to handle the noises, and sounds and cars,” he explained.

Duren added the horses also help build relationships with the community.