Photo courtesy of Dr. Katherine Ramsland
The Bethlehem Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit has recently been restored to downtown Bethlehem after a 63-year hiatus. The acquisition of Raven, George and Pharaoh has provided the Bethlehem Police Department and the city with a valuable resource. The long-absent clip, clop of horses’ hooves echo back to an early Bethlehem tradition, but represent a contemporary solution to present-day police work in a lively city.
The benefits are many to our citizens and business districts.
The majority of a mounted officer’s job is being in the public. In addition to being an appropriate part of the historic district, both officer and mount act as goodwill ambassadors to the city. Adults and children alike are attracted to the presence of a horse in the parks and on the city streets. For some, it’s a first-time encounter with a policeman, a horse or both. Our mounted officers are excellent representatives and take the time for community outreach. They play a positive role in the quality of life and tourism in our thriving city and help people feel both protected and proud of Bethlehem.
Horses have proven very effective in negotiating woodlands and parks. Since the city has a significant amount of natural topography, the Mounted Police will more effectively patrol the nature trail, towpath, Monocacy and Saucon parks and the South Bethlehem Greenway.
Thanks to an elevated vantage point, mounted officers can see and be seen at a greater distance.
Both officer and mount are trained in crowd management. Whether it be escorting an ambulance through the dense crowd of a concert, keeping pathways open during special events and festivals, keeping order on heavily populated streets and fields, a mounted officer can facilitate some situations much more easily than a patrol car, officer on a bicycle, or an officer on foot. “Ten Foot Cop” is a term used across the country describing the estimated amount of ground officers replaced by one trained police horse in a crowd management situation. Not to mention that number is the approximate height of an officer on horseback!
A Green Solution
The mounted unit is the ultimate green vehicle. No fossil fuels are burned and the by-products are natural and biodegradable.
Thanks to the Historic Bethlehem Partnership and Lehigh County, the Mounted Patrol Unit is boarded at Burnside Plantation. The officers are responsible for the care of the horses during their shift and the department recruits additional help from its Volunteers in Police Service for work at the barn. In implementing this new program, the Bethlehem Police Department welcomes both volunteer assistance and monetary donations from the community.
About Our Horses
George is a Percheron-Morgan cross, Raven is a Friesian-Quarter Horse cross, and Pharaoh is an American Quarter Horse. Click on the Meet the Horses page for more information.
Interested in supporting the Mounted Police?
For more information, please contact the Mounted Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your check can be made out to Friends of the Bethlehem Mounted Police. Now you can also send your donation via PayPal by using the button on our blog.
Thank you for your support!