A recent trial run of a mounted patrol in the Village met with encouraging results, said the president of Promote La Jolla, which sponsored the test.
“It was a great presence in the community,” said Deborah Marengo, head of La Jolla’s nonprofit, dues-paying Business Improvement District, which represents Village merchants’ interests. “Many visitors really enjoyed seeing mounted security with officers on horseback: It was a nice attraction.”
Most merchants, she added, would like to see more security to help combat the “transient issue and the recent rashes of burglaries and vandalism.”
Tiffany Sherer, PLJ’s executive director, referred to the mounted patrl as “security ambassadors,” said storeowners were “popping out” to see the men atop the horses and were excited about it, giving them a warm reception.
At the group’s August board meeting, Sherer estimated it would cost about $2,000 per weekend to hire the mounted patrol in the future.
Marengo said, “Instead of just having a security officer or a car walk or ride down the street, a mounted patrol would lend itself more toward the Village atmosphere.”
The group will explore funding sources, she added. At the August PJL meeting, she said the mounted patrol is an idea worth pursuing even if merchants each chipped in only $1.
“PLJ boardmember Susie Greenwald, owner of Print O Mat at 1116 Silverado St., agreed the mounted patrol might be worth having on a more permanent basis.
“We’ve been trying to get together a goodwill ambassador program to put help on the streets of the Village, people who are resourceful, know where things are, and are just generally visible,” said Greenwald, whose printing business primarily serves locals.
“Our feeling was this mounted patrol would provide added security and more eyes watching and paying attention. Its … reinforces that we care about ourselves and the people who are here.”
“We want to protect the merchant community here,” she said, “doing things like confronting people who are sleeping in doorways.”