I’m parking near a NYC Horse Mounted Unit building these days. I see them come, and go. Lemme preface this by saying, I like horses and I like cops. ( Mostly… ). I do, however, detest fiscal waste.
I was trying to think of a single criminal situation where being mounted on a horse is more advantageous than being mounted on either a bicycle, motorcycle, vespa or 4-wheeled vehicle.
I cannot think of one. Chasing a perp through the thick dark underbrush of Central Park? MUCH more dangerous for a cop on horsemount. Rapid pursuit down Broadway? The horse’s hooves are shod with metal shoes. They slip and slide when running and stopping short- I’ve seen a Police Horse slip for a moment and then regain it’s footing.
Looking out over a large crowd? Perhaps, but being in the middle of a huge crowd ( Simon & Garfunkel in Central Park, a busy summer’s day down at the Battery, etc. ) is patently unsafe when you are mounted. Even the best-trained and most even-tempered steed would become skittish if a real mob scene broke out, with people and things being hurled about. The raised up point of view would be balanced out by the danger of trampling the surrounding crowd, being thrown, your horse being injured or spooked by a riot.
I can’t see why NYC or any urban police department spends the money on them these days, when every city is so broke.