It’s ten-til-midnight for the Boston Police Department’s Mounted Unit.
The City Council will decide on the police department’s budget at the end of this month. (June.)
A few weeks are all the time supporters have to sway councillors. Reports say that they’re looking for a show of support, good reasons to keep the unit and funding.
Later in this post, I’ll link to the various efforts to save the unit.
But, as both an aspiring crime fiction writer and a horse lover, I thought I’d look into the tactical advantages of a city having a mounted police unit.
Come to find out, the unit might actually save Boston money.
Officers can both see and be seen when they’re tall in the saddle. They can see over crowds, and citizens seeking an officer can spot them easier. Also, from the saddle, officers can also look into buses, truck cabs and other high vehicles for threatening or unsafe activities.
An officer on horseback can chase suspects faster and cover more rough urban terrain. A crowd will part for a mounted officer. Even drunks do not want a horse to step on them.
Effective manpower usage
A press release from the New Haven, CT, Mayor John DeStefano says that a mounted officer can replace 10 foot officers in crowd control situations.
That’s right. Let’s see it again. For crowd control, one mounted officer = ten foot officers.
And article in American Police Beat says that the cities that have eliminated their mounted units, like Boise, Idaho, and Detroit, Michigan, have regretted the decision and have worked to re-instate the units.
A Toledo, Ohio, police spokesperson has also said, that despite the expense of a mounted unit, a mounted officer is ideal for working big events in the city’s downtown.
How does that help Boston specifically?
Boston has many big downtown events with crowds, including a recent Dave Matthews concert that was reportedly worked by mounted officers.
Also, when the Red Sox win the World Series again, the city will wish it still had mounted officers to maintain a presence during the passionate street celebrations afterward.
What we can do
The Boston City Council probably has some tough decisions to make. Let’s show them that a mounted police unit isn’t just Officer Friendly on horseback.
- Save the US Capitol Police
- Press release from New Haven Mayor John DeStefano
- American Police Beat