After nearly four years of operation, the Waterloo Regional Police mounted patrol unit is being shut down.

The decision was announced Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board, and will go into effect April 1.

Police say the decision was made following analysis of the police service’s priorities and resources.

“The mounted unit has been a valuable and effective patrol option and we are very proud of the officers who have contributed to its many successes,” Chief Matt Torigian said in a press release.

“This was a difficult decision and one made out of necessity.”

First introduced in 2010, the mounted unit consisted of two horses, one full-time human officer and a rotation of other officers.

It was a regular presence at community festivals and in high-visibility locations such as downtown Kitchener and uptown Waterloo.

The full-time human officer will be reassigned to another position with Waterloo Regional Police, while no decision has been made on the future of the horses.

Torigian says the mounted unit could be reinstated in the future, if more resources become available.