The Jersey City Police Department could bring back their mounted unit, which was disbanded in 1972, by the end of the summer, pending city council approval in the coming weeks.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“They are good for crowd control for big events, are good for police visibility, and also good for community relations. We are one of the few cities out size that doesn’t have a mounted unit. It will be much smaller than Newark but a good start,” Mayor Steven Fulop told HCV.
Newark’s mounted unit was created back in 1891 and was disbanded between 1974 before being reinstituted in 1987, according to the city’s website. Their site also says the unit currently has 10 horses and seven officers who use them.
The mayor continued that if approved, the five horses that join the police force would come at no additional cost to the taxpayers since they would be retired trotters.
He added that the horses would live in a barn near the office of emergency management building on Summit Avenue.
Fulop also said that he would hope to partner with the public schools so that students interested in veterinary education could learn about the animals first hand, as well as working them into the city’s summer internship program.
However, Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, a retired police detective, panned the idea, exclaiming that bringing back the motorcycle unit would make a lot more sense for the city.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life: the motorcycles should be coming back, not the horses. The horses are bad: bring back the god darn motorcycles,” Boggiano stated.
“What are you gonna do with the horses? You need veterinarians … they’re gonna be crapping all over the streets – get the heck out of here. We need the motorcycles here in Jersey City.”
East Coast Private Investigations President Joe Blaettler, a retired Union City deputy chief, concurred with Fulop that the mounted unit could bring value to the police department.
“Horses are effective: they’re good for parades, crowd control, parks – also creates a lot of visibility for the cop … For a city that size, it’s not a bad idea. Most large cities have them, they do serve a function,” he said.
The current plan is for the mounted unit to be on the city council’s March 25th agenda, with the horses and stables ready for police use by the end of the summer if everything goes according to plan, the mayor noted.