HOUSTON - The first day on the job for one particular HPD rookie was all about getting used to the surroundings in downtown Houston.
We're not talking about your normal, two-legged officer. This one has four legs, and he's not a K-9 or a horse. Houstonians will now have to get used to seeing Mo the Mule, the newest member of HPD's mounted patrol on duty downtown.
"He's got a great personality," said officer Meredith Villarreal, the officer who rides Mo. "He's very smart and has a lot of curiosity to him."
Officers say those are all the qualities needed to make a great police mount. They say mules actually have better qualities than horses because of their intelligence, toughness and loyalty.
"They are very loyal. They're very tough. They have greater endurance than horses," said Lt. Randall Wallace, the commander of the mounted patrol. "They're very intelligent."
But not everyone is willing to give Mo the benefit of the doubt. Some believe adding a mule to the mounted patrol is a sign of trouble.
"I don't know if it's due to budget constraints or what," said Lee Davis. "I think it's a desperate act, if you ask me."
But officers say Mo will prove his value in due time.
"He's three, so the sky's the limit on how long he works here as a police mount," said Lt. Wallace. "He'll probably be here a lot longer than the rest of us."
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