1970s photograph of two NYPD officers
In this photograph, taken in 1978, a young boy is fascinated by a mounted New York (NY) Police Department officer’s horse, and another NYPD officer shares his enthusiasm. Mounted police have long served a special purpose in American law enforcement, even when horses were a more common sight. Most police patrolled on foot, so mounted units were able to respond more quickly to a crisis.
Today, mounted units still serve a variety of purposes, such as patrolling remote areas on the border or in national parks, or crowd control in major cities. The NYPD has the largest mounted unit in the United States with over 60 officers. It takes a lot of training for both the riders and their mounts, or horses, who must be able to respond calmly and professionally when surrounded by crowds, loud noises, and unexpected surprises.
The National Law Enforcement Museum has thousands of law enforcement artifacts in our archives; too many to display at once. We offer this regularly scheduled blog to give you a peek into our archives.