MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In weather like Tuesday’s Groundhog Day snowstorm, four legs might be better than four wheels.

Instead of squad cars, officers with St. Paul’s Mounted Patrol trotted through the snow on horseback in the afternoon.

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Snowy weather kept four-legged officers Cowboy, Jett, and the rest of their law enforcement partners busy.

There are a total of six horses who work for St. Paul Police. In the summer they patrol public spaces like Rice Park in downtown, but on Tuesday their services were especially helpful.

In the midst of weather that makes some groan, Officer Matt Jones is grinning.

“I can’t complain,” he said. “I have the best job in the world. I get to go around talk to people.”

He says his trusted equine officers are happy too.

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“They love it,” he said. “They’re eating snow, kicking it around.”

But this isn’t just about fun — Officer Jones and Cowboy — along with his partner Officer Jen Mink and Jett — have work to do.

“Check parking meters, see any traffic violations,” Officer Mink said. “We’ll pull over a car see what we see.”

They did see a few things — like snow covering windows and license plates — but mostly people were seeing them, snapping pictures and looking on.

“In the snow, it’s majestic,” one passerby said. “It’s gorgeous. Wonderful to see they’re out here.”

The extra grips on the horses’ shoes serve them well in this weather, allowing them to out hoof their peers in a pursuit.

“A squad car can’t go as fast cause you’re gonna spin out,” and on foot is gonna slip just as much

They did have a few footing issues, slipping in the snow, but Officer Jones reigned it back in to finish the days patrol making streets safer, and friendlier.

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In the evening, horses will spend the night snoozing in their quarters on a Woodbury farm.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield