Councilor: Police need more horsepower

Mounted Boston police officer in the 1920s

Mounted cop races down Tremont in the 1920s. Photo by Leslie Jones. See it larger.

At-large City Councilor Steve Murphy wants to bring back the Boston Police mounted unit, disbanded in 2009.

In a request for a formal hearing on the issue, Murphy writes:

The Mounted Police Unit provided a sense of security and comfort to residents and visitors.

The council considers Murphy's hearing request at its regular Wednesday meeting, which begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.

Photo from the BPL Leslie Jones collection posted under this Creative Commons license.

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Comments

Anything that

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Anything that gets officers out of cars and more engaged with the public is a good thing and helps the Police's public image. Better interaction with the public means a better public/police relationship. Not to mention the horses (and dogs) are a great way to break the ice with young kids and make them less afraid of police.

In terms of public relations motorcycles, bicycles, and horses are all better than cars/suv's, but nothing beats the good ol' foot patrol!

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True

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I've stepped in some pretty powerful horse exudate.

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No it can't

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No it can't

Officers on horseback can see over large crowds that other units can't and in a riot situation NO ONE IS GOING TO SCREW WITH A 3,000 LB HORSE.

Every other large city has brought back and improved their mounted units in the past few years for good reason. NYC set the gold standard when they built a new training facility for their unit.

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In the interest of accuracy

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In the interest of accuracy and to pick nits: 3000 pounds would be a "draft horse". I think horses that people ride are around 1,500 pounds.

Or less.

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My sister's horses are not particularly small (but not large either) and are under 900 pounds. I don't know if a draft horse reaches 3000 pounds; I usually figure up to a ton, but it's a while since I've watched the horse pulling at the fair (where they're classed by team weight).

I'm very pro bike-cop and bikes in general

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but I agree with others that horses are much better - especially since motorists tend to be far more wary around horses than they are around bikes.

Plus you're much higher up, and horses can more easily go in places that bikes would have trouble - like the parks (especially patrolling places like the arboretum and franklin park).

and kids love them.

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29

confused

Hmm...during the Walk for Hunger Sunday, I saw a cop on a horse patrolling the Common. Is that not the mounted unit? Or is it State police and not city?

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Park Rangers

Those are the Park Rangers, a unit that is now privately funded by people who like the tradition.

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Fahkin Horses.

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What's funny is the city could save the $700,000 it cost to keep the horses...and use the SIX new bikes they were given for FREE that no other department in the country has. They are specialized bikes with GPS and even on-board sirens. Much more efficient and cost nada, ya dig?

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What

The Mounted Police Unit provided a sense of security and comfort to residents and visitors.

Something about this just sounds really... odd.

Big Brother is watching you. Big Brother is protecting you. Big Brother embraces you in his arms.

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Murphy is just saying it was

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Murphy is just saying it was a cute old tradition that he liked and was fun and he wants to bring it back. The fact that tourists liked taking pictures with cops on horses is not a good reason to pay for all the added expenses. Cops on bicycles are much more nimble with have lower costs and dont leave feces all over the city.

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Drones

The Mounted Police Unit provided a sense of security and comfort to residents and visitors.

Yeah, it sure beats cops with drones.

Excellent! Bring back the

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Excellent! Bring back the horses! Would love to see more cops out of their cars and on the streets... whether it's on foot, bike or horse.

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I am glad to see the idea of

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I am glad to see the idea of re-activation of the BPD mounted unit being discuss.

Anyone know why the park rangers were allowed to keep their unit with private funding and volunteers working in the stables? When the BPD unit was disbanded I approached my city councilor with this suggestion and it was a no go, but it has kept the park rangers going. Nothing against the park rangers but I wonder what was behind this.

Look at Seattle and other cities who work to raise parts of their budget from outside funding. http://saveourhorses.net/

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They're cute, but....

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Murphy is an old time Boston Pol. He likes things the way they were.

Do we need cops on horses? Not really. As long as we are discussing this, do we really need cops on motorcycles? (Or at least as many as we seem to have?) When real crime occurs it's never a cop on a motorcycle that responds. Are they purely used for motorcades?

quite a scene man

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somebody threw an egg at some KKK guy when he was on wbz's 'people are talking' (hosted by a young tom bergeron). all hell broke loose in the studio and arrests were made. the klan said they were going to march, with hoods and capes, through brighton center. the neighborhood decided they weren't marching through brighton center with hoods and capes and chaos ensued. I saw a horse go up on his hind legs and my friends older brother ran over and punched the horse in the dick. he got cracked in the head with a billy club for his efforts. brighton was pretty crazy in the late 70s early 80s. a lot of racial tension.

I was going to say...

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No mounted police are riding horses with balls. Very few people period ride ungelded male horses--they're much more feisty, hard to control and easily distracted.

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bulgingbuick

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crack induced hallucinations? I wouldn't know about them. don't know a lot about horses either. what I do know is what I saw as a 12 yr old. i saw a horse go up on its hind legs during a crowd control situation and saw an older kid run under the horse and punch it in its genital area. no crack involved bulgingbuick. have a nice day bulgingbuick

Awesome picture

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I watched mounted patrol officer galloping through the common once, on the paved walkway in the rain, and poor animal slipped and collapsed.

President Murphy may I suggest

City Council meetings be held on horseback. Current meetings and horseback riding both provide certain remains upon completion and the power one can exhibit while in the saddle is more impressive than wearing those burger king crowns anyway.

BROKEN PROMISES, it was never about the MONEY

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Busting the Boston Mounted Police was about a personal personnel beef & union squabbles. It was*never* about the less than half a million dollars that the detail cost the City.



In the Fenway, the mounted police were able to see over tall phragmites (reeds) where drug dealers and users hid.
They were able to quietly approach and not get stuck in mud as emergency vehicles have. Patrols had a noticeable impact on decreasing illicit traffic and 911 overdose calls to EMS.



Fact: the former Police Commissioner *promised* police bike patrols would take the place of the banished mounted police. I'll pay you to find a police on a bike patrolling inside the Fens along the Muddy River today. Instead, there
will be emergency vehicles pulling out corpses. Two in the last three months.