He was a 10-year veteran of the Charleston Police Department, specializing in patrolling this city's palmetto-lined streets, improving community relations and keeping big crowds in check - until his unit was disbanded, a victim of budget cuts.
So this month he was put out to pasture, quite literally.
Napoleon lost his policing job, along with the other five police horses here, as Charleston joined the growing number of cities that have retired their horses and closed their stables to save money. The recession is proving to be the greatest threat to police mounted units since departments embraced the horseless carriage.
Budget cuts throughout U.S.
This month, the downturn has also claimed mounted units in Newark, N.J.; Tulsa, Okla.; San Diego and Boston, whose police horses dated to the 19th century.
"It seems like horses are always among the first to go when it comes to budget cuts," said Mitchel P. Roth, a professor of criminology at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Tex., who has studied mounted patrols over the centuries.
Supporters of mounted patrols mourn their loss, and fault overzealous oat-counters at city halls across the nation.
Romantics have a nostalgic attachment to police horses, and many police officials value them, saying that when dealing with crowds, one mounted officer is as effective as seven to 10 officers on foot. They are highly visible, these officials say, and can deter crime, and their popularity with the public is a welcome change from the mistrust that many departments battle.
But others see the horses as a costly bit of sentimentality, and as departments make previously unthinkable cuts, like furloughing and laying off police officers, they are re-evaluating the role of the police horse in the 21st century.
In Charleston, officials decided that many of the unit's duties could be carried out at less expense without the horses. It was not a question of getting rid of the department's four-legged members in order to save its two-legged ones: The force here has actually been growing, and violent crime has gone down.
Nor was it a case of reversing someone else's policies. Mayor Joseph Riley Jr., who has been in office since 1975, established the city's mounted unit early in his tenure, when Charleston - whose horse-drawn carriages are a big draw for tourists - joined other cities in adding horses to provide a more approachable police presence, to help with crowd control and to deter crime.
At its height, the unit had 14 horses. Riley said that many of those functions could now be handled in other ways, with more officers on the streets and evening summer camps for adolescents and by using technology.
"It was kind of like the times had changed. And the reasons that you found them beneficial, those reasons had been replaced by other good, solid policing techniques," he said in an interview.
Charleston's police chief, Gregory Mullen, said that some of the unit's duties would be handled by officers on bicycles or on futuristic electric scooters called T3s, which look like a cross between a Roman chariot and a Segway. He said that he had been working to get more officers on the street by hiring administrative workers for desk duty, and that disbanding the mounted unit would help.
Officers in the mounted unit, by necessity, spent a couple of hours of each shift getting their horses ready, traveling with their mounts to their posts and then getting them bedded down. They rarely spent eight hours on patrol.
"When we started to look at that, it was a lot less expensive for us to operate bicycles and electric vehicles and other things than it was to maintain the housing and feed and care for the animals," the chief said.
Closing the unit, he added, will save $250,000 a year. But it was a blow to some in this history-loving city.
"It's just heartbreaking," said Alice Forshaw, 68, who was the mounted unit's groom for nearly 20 years before she retired.
A look through her scrapbooks brought back memories: Horses like Royal's Rogue, Heavy Ned, Easy Alibi. A former chief who loved to ride the horses, even after he was thrown from one. The out-of-town jobs that took the unit to the inaugurations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. And Moonshine, a police horse killed by a drunken driver and whose memorial service was held in a church.
Now Forshaw has a living souvenir. The city let her adopt Napoleon, who is 16 years old. He was walking around the backyard of her home in Cordesville, S.C., about 45 minutes north of the city, tentatively making friends with her other horse and receiving a police pension in hay and feed.