Visitors to the Texas State Capitol complex will notice a new mounted patrol unit of the Texas Department of Public Safety. On Tuesday, people were petting and feeding the horses, which are intended to deter crime on the 46-square-block area.
More than 12,000 state and civilian employees work at the capitol complex on any given day. Texas Public Safety Commission chair A. Cynthia Leon says when the legislature is in session, that population can soar to 80,000 people.
She says protecting these crowds at the complex is a huge responsibility –one DPS will fulfill in Texas style.
"Now capitol guests will get a small taste of Texas historic flavor when they see the DPS troopers in the saddle on patrol," Leon says. "You can be sure that the new mounted patrol unit isn’t horseplay."
And it doesn’t cost the department anything, says Steve McCraw, director of the Texas DPS.
"Because the citizens of Texas have actually donated the horses, donated the feed, the veterinary services and the land," he says.
The Austin Police Department will collaborate with DPS on training and housing.