ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) -- An official dedication was held Wednesday night at the home of Kent County's Mounted Division.
The horses are kept on 30 acres on Kroes Street near Rockford High School. The dedication focused on the completion of phase two of the project. Phase one included renovation of old out-buildings on the property, an outdoor training arena, and temporary stables.
Work on that part of the project was completed in 2011 with work beginning on additional improvements soon after. Law enforcement says one of the most important improvements is the addition of an indoor training area.
"Michigan's weather is not conducive for year round training in any capacity outside," said Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma. "This facility will help our mounted unit. It will be available to every county around us. Their mounted units come in and train year round and be ready on a moments notice."
Stelma says the Mounted Division plays an important role in crowd control at big events. "An officer on a horse is visible to people a long ways away," says Stelma. "It demands the respect and various experts will claim a mounted unit on a horse is worth about 10 people on foot patrol."
Holly Hanson is an unpaid special deputy. She says she does it to give back to the community and because she loves horses. She says the crowds do too. "We are kind of like an attraction when we go places," says Hanson, "Children especially come up and want to pet the horses. Adults too for that matter."
The Mounted Division was first established in the early 2000s with the opening of Millennium Park. The current project was paid for with money from donations and fundraising efforts.