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Mounted patrol moves horses from Forest Park after tests find high lead levels in stable

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis – The St. Louis Metropolitan Police have moved the 10 horses in the department's mounted patrol division after tests found elevated levels of lead in the stable's floor and loft.

The department occasionally stored hay in the loft at the stables, located near the Science Center in Forest Park. Lead levels in the air were not elevated, but the horses, and 22 officers, will be screened as a precaution.

The horses are at a farm in Chesterfield, said Captain William Swiderski, the commander of the department's support operations division. He doesn't know when they might return to the Forest Park stables.

"Obviously, we have to have a facility to house them at, so I think it will take the department a little bit of time to make sure that we're fiscally doing the right thing," Swiderksi said. He did not know how much it might cost the department to abate the lead. Officials are already looking for money to repair the headquarters building in downtown St. Louis.

Swiderski said officers will still patrol the park 24 hours a day.

"The only thing we'll do is the officers will be on foot beats, and on other occasions, they'll be in vehicles," he said. "The number of officers and the hours that we patrol are going to remain exactly the same, they just won't be on horseback."