It was the first (and oldest) mounted police unit in the nation, formed in 1873. But June 30th marked the last day of mounted patrols in Boston — at least until the city can come up with the funds needed to restore the unit.
The 12 horses have been given new homes — five are being leased to the NYC Police department; four were sent to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, and three were returned to their former owners. The 10 officers assigned to the unit are luckier. They were redeployed to other districts in the city.
Police Commissioner Ed Davis told the Boston City Council he had to choose between animals and people in the budget, and he chose to keep people.
The ceremonial last ride of the unit took place on June 23rd on Boston City Hall Plaza.
Ever since the cut was announced (in March), there has been a movement to save the 200-year-old Boston Mounted Police Unit. There is a petition site with 2508 signatures, a Facebook group with 3045 members, and patrons who have pledged over $200,000 in private funds to keep them from being disbanded and put up for adoption – none of it enough to secure the $600,000 needed to maintain them.
They will be missed.