SALEKHARD, Russia, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Santa's crew may soon be presented with a job opportunity during the off-season.
Officials in northwest Siberia said police could soon be deputizing reindeer to help chase down criminals in the region.
Irina Pimkina of the Yamalo-Nenets region's Interior Ministry said police in the area, which is located in Russia's Arctic tundra, often find themselves at a disadvantage when chasing down local criminals, who often employ reindeer as getaway rides.
"Of course we have snowmobiles in service, but one should understand that a machine is a machine," Pimkina told the Izvestia newspaper. "A snowmobile can break down or get stuck in the tundra, but the deer will run at all times."
The deer would join the animal ranks of about 150 donkeys and mules employed by the Russian Defense Ministry to serve in mountain brigades. The legislation governing the animals also allows for reindeer to be used for law-enforcement purposes.
Police in neighboring Finland have been using reindeer in recent years to patrol forests in Lapland.