Dennis Maisano’s day started 3 a.m. one recent Wednesday.
After sipping coffee, the 57-year-old police sergeant went outside to feed his horse, Frosty. After waiting an hour for Frosty to finish his alfalfa cubes, Maisano loaded him up in a trailer and hauled it with his Chevy pickup about 30 miles to Santa Ana from Norco for a 7 a.m. training.
Maisano and other mounted unit officers from across Orange County spent the day at Santiago Park honing their riding skills under the glaring sun.
The early morning schedule didn’t bother Maisano at all.
“Some people think it’s crazy, but we do it for the love of the horses,” he said.
After two years of planning, Maisano and fellow sergeant Mike Meyers launched the Irvine Police Department’s first-ever mounted unit, which will make its debut Tuesday, Aug. 1 at the city’s National Night Out, a nation-wide event to promote police programs.
The unit is expected to patrol open space that’s difficult for vehicles to get around, as well as the developing Orange County Great Park and city-sponsored events. The height of the horse gives officers a vantage point to monitor the crowd or wilderness areas.