One of Tampa's brave officers is stepping off the streets, after hoofing it through countless events and protecting people. After 13 years of service, Chad the police horse, is hanging up his badge.
This is the first day of a whole new life for this thoroughbred.
“Every Gasparilla, the day parade, the night parade, he has worked the RNC, I believe he worked the Superbowl,” Officer Brandon Barclay said.
Chad's last job was at Wednesday's police memorial. Now, Chad is entering his golden years. He'll trade chaos for cows and police pressure for roaming pastures.
“Now’s a good time for him to retire, live out the remaining time he has and just be a horse and not have to worry about crowds and people and getting punched,” Barclay said.
Chad got punched in the face at Gasparilla two years ago.
“Too much alcohol, people do crazy things, he ended up going to jail for battering a police horse,” Barclay said.
Officer Barclay said his backup on four legs is invaluable. Chad has broken up thousands of fights and they rely on each other.
“They depend on us for their safety, so they look to us to keep them safe, just as we look to them to keep other officers safe,” Barclay said.
Officer Barclay said they'll miss Chad's dependability and his penchant for peppermints.
“When we go down to Ybor some of the officers will give him peppermints and he knows who those officers are he’ll start rooting them out of their pockets if they’re not fast enough with them,” Barclay said.
Chad's retirement ceremony is planned for the end of the month, peppermints included.