As cities like Newark are disbanding police mounted units, Philadelphia plans to bring back cops on horses this fall if a private foundation can raise $2 million to fund the patrols until the city can afford to take over the cost, reports USA Today. With successful pro sports teams and rowdy Saturday night street scenes, Philadelphia needs police horses for crowd control, says Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. The city needs better relations between residents and the police force as it struggles with a high crime rate, and horses can help there, too, Ramsey says. No one ever asks to pet a squad car.
Last March, swarming crowds of young people called “flash mobs” resulted in near-riots and arrests. That highlighted the need for the city to have mounted cops. “One horse is worth 10 people when it comes to crowd control,” Ramsey says. “When you’ve got police officers on foot marching in a skirmish line trying to move a crowd, what do you have? You’ve got tension, you’ve got conflict.”