DENVER (CBS4) - Denver's police force just got some new horsepower. A big and strong mustang named Maverick, ready to take down some bad guys.
"He loves when you guys pet him," Officer Ron Jensen said. "He's nice and soft, huh?"
Maverick is a 9-year-old gentle giant born in the wild in Texas, according to Jensen.
"It's pretty unique," Maverick's rider told CBS4's Kelly Werthmann. "Being a mustang born in the wild, not too many transition to becoming a police horse. It's unique for him and for us."
Jensen explained the Denver Police Department bought Maverick from a rancher in Wyoming who trained the wild mustang. The department quickly realized Maverick would be a great addition to their mounted patrol unit.
"He's solid," Jensen said. "He has a great temperament, well-behaved, loves children."
So who better to swear in the newest member than a group of kids? The mounted patrol unit came to the Sun Valley Youth Center on Tuesday afternoon where nearly 30 kids helped Maverick become an official member of the force.
"Do you Maverick," the kids shouted in unison, "swear that you will faithfully perform the duties of a police horse with the City and County of Denver to which you have been appointed?"
Without missing a beat, Maverick nodded his head in agreement.
"He does!" Jensen said. "Good job, Maverick!"
Maverick joins four other horses used to help DPD patrol city parks, special events, the 16th Street Mall, even help with search and rescue.
"We can see higher," Jensen explained of why horses are a key asset to the department. "We can go where regular patrol officers can't go in their cars, like on trails to help hurt or lost hikers."
Yet connecting with the community, Chief Paul Pazen said, is Maverick and his team's most important job.
"Being able to engage in conversation with the community and young people and break down barriers," Pazen said. "They do some great work."
Right now, the Denver Police Department has five horses and three officers in their Mounted Patrol unit. Pazen said there might be opportunity to expand the unit one day, but it depends on the city's budget.
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