BRIDGEPORT - The village of Bridgepot showed off the newest member of its police department this past weekend and area residents, especially children, turned out to welcome him.
He is Lakota, an 8-year old quarter horse who will be used to increase interaction with the community through public relations and education projects.
The police department is making plans to establish a mounted unit to its resources. Lt. Jerry Delman has more than eight years of work with search and rescue and crowd control training, part of which has involved training and working as a certified mounted unit. Delman owns Lakota and keeps him on a farm he owns in Martins Ferry.
LAKOTA, the Bridgeport Police Department’s newest officer, enjoys the attention he received from children and local residents at a community relations event held on Saturday at the Advance America lot in Brookside. Lakota is an 8 year-old quarter horse and is handled by Lt. Jerry Delman. He is shown chumming around with “Sparky” the Brookeside Volunteer Fire Department mascot.
At Saturday's event, children had the opportunity to pet and even get on Lakota for pictures. Delman said Lakota likes attention. "He enjoys people and likes the attention they give him."
Some of the people brought carrots and apples for Lakota.
"Apples are his favorite," Delman said.
The Advance America office in Brookside took the opportunity to celebrate with their customers and hold a Customer Appreciation Day. They provided hot dogs, beverages, candy, water and Lil' Hugs for the residents. "We are pleased to be a par t of this celebration," said Katrina Rosenberger, Advance America manager. "We feel it is important to work with the local police and fire departments and to say 'thanks' to our customers," she said.
The Brookside Volunteer Fire Department had its fire engine on display and Bridgeport police had a cruiser. Chief Andy Klotz offered an opportunity for those present to be finger printed.
"Sparky," the Brookside VFD mascot, was also at the event.
"We are glad that so many people, especially the children, came to meet Lakota. He will be a very valuable asset to our department," Klotz said.
Delman said Lakota was used recently at an event in Athens. "We were reimbursed for all expenses," he said.
Delman said Lakota will also be used at parades for crowd control as well as a parade participant. "In the event of a search and rescue operation, Lakota can be used in areas where even four-wheelers can't navigate," he said.
There is no expense to the village of Bridgeport for Lakota's upkeep.
Polli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.