Special APD officer hangs up his shoes at 22

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Think of all the possibilities, if only you could retire at 22 years old… That far-fetched dream is usually reserved for Silicon Valley types, professional athletes – and one special Albuquerque police officer who hung up their badge and shoes Friday.

“After 17 years, he’s just getting to a point where it’s time for him to go be a horse,” said Commander Jimmy Collins, the acting deputy superintendent of Albuquerque Police Department’s reform bureau.

Rudy the Horse has been a part of APD longer than some officers. He was Commander Collins’ partner from 2006 to 2012 and they shared many memories along the way.

“There was a time during Balloon Fiesta when, I don’t know, it’s probably day six or seven and we were tired, the horses were tired and I went over to his stall and he was laying down snoring and I walk into a stall and he has his head up. He looked at me and he’s like, really, like, seriously. I said, I’m sorry man, let’s go, we gotta go.”

Now, at age 22, Rudy is headed for a well-earned retirement. He’ll be staying at the Whispering Pine Estate, where most APD horses are trained and housed.

“It’s just a great honor to be able to bring him and keep him here with his buddies. We’re going to keep him on the property and let him retire. He’s earned it,” said Robert Vick, the stable owner and manager.

Vick says he’s overjoyed to take Rudy in his retirement. For Commander Collins, it is bittersweet to say goodbye to Rudy as a colleague.

“Well the important thing, between any police officer and their partner, is that trust for each other and we know the horses see things differently than humans do,” Collins said. “I like to think that he trusted me and I absolutely trusted him.”

As Rudy’s retirement is celebrated and he exits the stable, APD currently has 12 horses, including some new recruits like Nigel who is ready to take the reins of his generation.