The Mounted Unit
Baltimore Police Mounted Unit
Sgt. Daniel J McBride
1 June 1888
The Mounted Unit was started
It was ran by Sgt James R. Moog
The Baltimore Sun recently reported (10 January 2015) the Mounted unit of the Baltimore Police Department was started in 1888, and that it has a storied tradition as one of the oldest continuously operated mounted police divisions in the United States. Formed 127 years ago by a Confederate soldier named Sergeant James Robert Moog, who served under Stonewall Jackson, and was a Morgan Cavalryman during the civil war where he was shot in the foot during the Battle of Gettysburg and initially enforced the city's 6-mph speed limit for horse-drawn carriages before starting the mounted unit. Sergeant Moog died from an on duty attack of bronchial asthma that was later found to have brought on a case of an acute appendicitis attack killing him on 27 February 1931. As late as 1995, the department still had a horse named after the General.
Possibly taken in 1912 during the democratic convention here in Baltimore
The rider second from the left appears to me Sgt James Moog
Courtesy Ret LT Bob Wilson
Courtesy Ret LT Bob Wilson
Courtesy Ret LT Bob Wilson
Courtesy Ret LT Bob Wilson
Courtesy Ret LT Bob Wilson
Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer unloading a horse
Courtesy David Eastman
Police officer on horseback in front of school 51, the York Road Turnpike and Gorsuch Ave.
About 1900. This was 12 years after the annexation up to about 40th Street.
Baltimore’s the Surviving Mounties
20 September 1936
They're only 12 now, but their service is valuable
Horses owned by the Baltimore Police Department led a peculiar life. Excellent saddle mounts, they're ridden from 5 to 8 hours every day except Sunday, yet seldom, if ever, or the permitted to move faster than a walk. Like their riders, their hand-picked, and must pass every test before being assigned permanently to the mounted detachment. “A good canter once in a while would do them a world of good,” commented Sgt. Harry G Schminkey, leader of the “Mounties,” as he casts an approving glance at the 11 equestrians munching on their oats in their stable on S. Frederick St. “But the only time these fellas get a chance to save themselves down as when the riders are hurrying to the scene of a disturbance.” “It’s not like the old days,” the Sgt. mourned, “when the horses were stabled out at the northern district. We had an opportunity then to put them into a gallop almost every day.” A member the mounted detachment for 22 years, Sgt. Schminkey likes to remember the time when the vicinity of Guilford and Roland Park was sparsely settled. A few horses here and there, with most of the streets unpaved and always a vacant lot nearby, made the northern a fine assignment for a mounted patrolman, cantering briskly about his bailiwick.His first big thrill? The Sgt. heads the bit – he does not like to appear boastful. “Oh, I don’t know,” he began modestly.
“There was one ride – a short one – which seems rather exciting to me. A man had been snatching pocketbooks from women along University Parkway. We had been on the lookout for him for about three weeks. I finally came across the fellow a few seconds after he had snatched a purse. He ran down into Wyman Park near the Maryland and Pennsylvania railroad tracks. I went after him at a dead gallop: he slid down that steep embankment and had reached the bottom when I got to the brink, I let my horse pick his way down the steep slope, fearing every minute we both would go tumbling on to the railroad tracks, 50 feet below. We made it though, (that was a fine horse I had) and caught up with the thief after a chase along the tracks. He later was given 10 years in the penitentiary.”
Applicants for the mounted detachment are numerous but usually experienced. The list is gone through with a fine tooth come to secure the best horsemen among the most capable patrolman. Vacancies are few. There have been only nine in the past 10 years, but when they occur, the entire police force is calmed for men in the Calvary, range or other writing experience. Then they are given test and horsemanship and care of animals. ”It doesn’t take long to learn how much a man knows about horses,” Sgt. Schminkey explained. “Often it isn’t necessary to have them out. I recall one motorcycle patrolman who wanted to become a mounted man. He tried to choke the horse with a tight throat lacks and then wanted to mounted from the offside (an unpardonable sin among equestrians).
There are two formal Calvary men – patrolman Lewis Zulauf and Edward Ellis – on the mounted squad. The others were brought up around horses and were experienced riders when assigned to the Mounties.
The horses are carefully selected. There obtained from various sources and the prices range from hundred $175-$200. Experts, including the Police Department veterinarian, must pass upon the animal, and Commissioner Gaither, who has special pride in the mounted force, gives the final okay himself. Before a deal is complete, the horse is giving a 10 day trial in traffic. “Some horses just won’t take to traffic,” Schminkey said, others easily become accustomed to trucks and autos. We try them first and light traffic and that in more congested areas, and if they continue to show signs of nervousness, we turned them down.” Another requirement is gentleness. A policeman’s horse can have no flights. It would hardly do to have an animal which might bite or kick pedestrians, particularly kind old ladies or children who like to feed them apples and lumps of sugar. While there are no exact specifications which an animal must meet, the department, nevertheless, seeks a seven-year-old about 15 points in the hands and 1100 pounds. Younger horses it is said, often break down in the legs as a result of the constant pounding on hard streets. When put into service after reaching seven years of age, a horses likely to last 10 to 12 years on duty. One horse, Sam, a heavy Chestnut Bay was written by Patrolman Frank currently is 18 years old and has been in service for 11 years.
Rubber pads are placed on all four hooves to give the horses better footing on the paved streets. These nonskid shoes often protect the rider too, by reducing falls to a minimal, and it is interesting to note that there have been few occasions of a rider horse being injured, even in congested traffic. 20 police horses no longer fit for service, he is retired to a farm where he is pastured for the rest of his life, but this policy has been in effect only a few years – earlier the animal would be sold at auction or “put to sleep.” Fuel the horses, according to veterans of the mounted squad, turn out to be “bad actors.”
“There was one horse at the northern some years ago,” Sgt. Schminkey recalled. “Inspector Lurz (the late George E. Lurz) was a Lieutenant of the mounted service at the time and had obtained a cold black animal that turned out to be dynamite. I was the first rider assigned to him. He let me mount him all right, but then he began to rear, block and do everything a police force shouldn’t. He got the bit in his teeth, put his head to the ground, and from the second I settled down into the saddle we had a battle – he and I.
“He threw me after running about two blocks, and the next day another officer Road a half block was thrown and suffered a broken ankle. Lieut. letters and then said he’d find somebody who can ride the horse, and a few days later brought a soldier out thing can’t meet. He was a cavalryman, I believe, but anyway, he hit the dirt before the horse had left the stable yard. That was the end of the Black’s career as a police force.”
Men on the mounted squad from 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM, an hour longer than patrolman, but have every Sunday off. They returned to the stables in two shifts for lunch. About an hour and a half. Two of the men on uptown duty turned their horses in at 4 PM and then tag auto’s on foot until quitting time. The great advantage of the mounted man in traffic is the vision of what it from the back of a horse. Stationed at Pratt and light streets, for example, a mounted officer has a clear view southward to Key Highway and eastward to the Jones Falls. In congested sections, he can see for blocks over the heads of pedestrians and roofs of automobiles. Horse patrolman also is used to good advantage in handling large crowds, such as those assembled at the Stadium, and the horse patrolman is considered invaluable in handling traffic and directing the parking of automobiles. And what parade would be a success out the “Mounties” at its head? A small group, only 12 soon, Baltimore’s mounted police are the pride of their chief and the envy of most of the foot patrolman.
BALTIMORE, August 29th 1888
James R. Horner, Esq.
Comptroller & C.
My Dear Sir,
I am of opinion that the disbursing offices of the City must pay the amount of the requisition for the erection of the stable to house the horses used by the Mounted Police within the newly annexed territory and refusal will justify the issue of certificates for that amount being 6. per cent interest and receivable for taxes as provided by Sec. 715 of the Code. The Board of Police Commissioners are a board of State Officers strictly within the jurisdiction of the State Authorities and the statute law of the state in the only guide in determining their rights, powers and obligations. Sec. 722 of the last version provides as follows, “ And if found practicable in addition to the station houses and properties attached hereto which they are authorized and empowered to take possession of and use. They may provide additional station houses with all necessary appurtenances, as may be found needful and necessary and such accommodations as may be requisite for the Police Force.” Sec. 715 prescribes the mode and manner of providing for the expenditure necessary for the discharge of the duties imposed on the Board, and requires and annual estimate to the Mayor & C.C. and provides, “that if the annual estimate shall from any cause prove insufficient for the necessary expenses. The Board are authorized to expend not exceeding $50,000 in any one year which amount shall be added to the estimate assessment and levy for the year next ensuing. The proper disbursing offices of the City as required to pay over the amount of each requisition of the Board not to exceed in any one year the annual estimate certified to the Mayor & C.C. by the Board, or which may therefore be certified for that year to the said Mayor & C.C. and a refusal will be attended by what is indicated in the opening paragraph of this letter.” The Act of 1784, ch.310 which authorized and empowered the Board of Police Commissioners, “To purchase or lease ground in said city and to erect suitable station houses thereon out of the Special Fund of paid Board the title truest in the city,” is not a repeal or limitation of the general power conferred by Sec. 722 as quoted herein but in my opinion was a special and additional power designed to utilize the accumulations of the Special Fund in the erection of station houses, in the judgment and discretion of the Board. Since that Act of 1784, the Special Fund has been further changed by the Act of 1884 ch. 225 with the payment of the salaries of the matrons of station houses and the Act of 1886 ch. 459 with the payment of some pensions to retired policemen and the Patrol wagon service. The erection of this stable is in fact “an accommodation required site for the police force,” in the language of Sec. 722 in the judgment of the Board, necessary and needful in the newly annexed territory demanding mounted officers and is an exercise of the given power, although I do not wish to be understood as saying that if the Board were actually erecting a station house at the same point in the district this stable as a proper appurtenance thus to would not also be chargeable by implication to the Special Fund.
Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer loading horse - old stables on Frederick St.
Left to Right Bob oros and Jimmy Grace
City Mounted Police Holding Own, In Age of Atoms Autos
THOMAS M HOPKINSON
The Sun (1837-1987); Nov 27, 1955; pg. 40
In the age of Atoms and all those with the never-ending battle of man versus machine. Baltimore’s mounted police are holding their own. Yesterday Capt. Thomas J. Keys. Head of the foot traffic division of the Baltimore police, dispelled recent rumors that the city’s horse and the mounted division was doomed to follow the horse and buggy to oblivion. “I don’t think the horses could be replaced with any other unit in our department because of the particular typography of Baltimore,” he said
Used at Waterfront
Specifically, he was talking about Baltimore’s waterfront, where the mounted police weave in and out of the congested narrow streets and peers. In addition to the important traffic control work done by the city’s 16 police horses. Capt. Keys cited the “crowd control” role often played by the mounted department. “I’ve never seen anything which could compete with a horse for crowd control.” He said. Talking about the horses being used to hold back crowds at fire and picket lines, the captain said to, “a man on a horse can take the place of a dozen footmen here.” In the last 30 years, the number of police horses has decreased from a maximum of 25 down to the present total of 16. However, the current number has changed little during the last 20 years.
Originated in 1888
Originating in 1888 at the northern district police station, the stables moved to their present location at 27 South Frederick St. in 1927. At the modest two-story brick stable building just a horse you throw away from the block area, 16 not so young buildings months their daily quota of hay and oats. According to Sgt. William C. Otto. A horse “never had it so good.” “They sleep in a nice dry stall, eat three squares a day, have a vet when they’re sick and don’t work too hard,” he explained the three squares consist of 3 quarts of oats at about 5 AM a similar dosage at noontime, and another bucket of oats mixed with 15 pounds of hay for supper.
Variations in the bill of fare are provided twice a week when a molasses feed (a mixture of corn, oats, and hay sprinkled with molasses) is served as a specialty of the stable. Symbolizing, perhaps, more than any other man, the kind of police officer associated with the mounted division, would be Sgt. Charles H. Gerhold. With glinting gray hair, a bushy mustache, and the German descent. Sgt. Gerhold could be a prototype of their traditional Prussian Calvary officer. When asked if he had been around horses very long, Sgt. Gerhold replied, “I can remember the day when I could bend my head a little and walk under a horses belly.” Today, Sgt. Gerhold saddles a spirited, 12-year-old horse named boy, after riding his favorite, Sonny. For many years. Sgt. Gerhold, after 11 years service in the mounted ranks, is another optimist about the future of the equine corpse in the organization of the Metropolitan Police Department. “They can do a job that you just can’t get done with anything else” he said.
the longevity record for mounted officers belongs to officer Frank W Kuhn, who has 20 years service. He rides radio a 23-year-old coal black gelding with a prominent white diamond etched in the middle of his four head. The oldest horse in the stable is a 24-year-old Charlie, who is written by patrolman William McKeldin. Brother of the governor. Besides the regular downtown traffic duties, the mounted police have their share of parades and special ceremonies. Parading for the Preakness at Pimlico and the “I am an American day” celebration are two events on each year’s calendar. When a horse has performed years of faithful service and starts to show signs of wear and tear, he is assured of spending his remaining days in a pleasant surrounding. At retirement, all good police horses spend their last days at the Pikesville farm in the Baltimore County Humane Society to ramp and roam in green pastures at last free from the all those, noise and cobblestone.
Baltimore Skipjacks coach Gene Ubriaco on the horse named Skipjack who was donated by the team.
Secretariat's Rider/Jockey Ron Turcotte
with Baltimore's Mounted Unit
Courtesy David Eastman
Vince Pacelli and Sundance!
Courtesy David Eastman
Officer Howard Frank
Circa Early 1950's
Off. Bill Williamson on Buddy, Off. George Kunkowski on Mike, Off. Tom Colburne on Sam,
Off. Greg Faherty on RC, Off. Gary McDowell on Beau, Off. Janice West on Sabre, Off. Dave Eastman on Tony
In front of city hall, 1981
Left to Right - Officer Greg Faherty, on RC Officer John Heiderman,
on SparkyOfficer Dave Eastman on Jasper
Courtesy Dave Eastman
While it is seen to have a Wheel and a Horsehead it was not strictly for Monuted Police,
It was issued to Traffic Officers during a time when people used Horses and Wagons to get around
So it was used for any unit that handled traffic in Baltimore
Behind the horse van. Tom Bretzil, unknown, Bob Petza, Ronald Teufer
Behind the horse van. Tom Bretzil, unknown, Bob Petza, Ronald Teufer
along Pratt Street ridden by Officer John George
Group riding out of barn, left to right - 1st group John Canning, Joe Thomas, 2nd group Bob Petza, Rob Teufer, 3rd group still inside the barn Tom Bretzik Bill Chubb
The "Mounted Police Stables" sign seen in this shot
is the same Mounted Police Stables sign seen in the B&W pic above
Baltimore’s Mounties Specialize on Traffic
Every morning at about 730 Baltimore’s mounted police stage a parade, without benefit of music or other fanfare. It’s their old custom of starting work for the day, and they only marks a block. But they make a brave show, nevertheless, as 2 x 2 they ride out of the stable at 27 South Frederick St., below water Street, and hold this formation until they reach Lombard Street, where they break ranks and proceed to their various city posts. Even in this motorized age in these mounted men are still an important part of the local police force. So useful are they in assisting foot patrolmen and regulating traffic and crowds that their number was increased from 12 to 16 several years ago, though naturally the force was considerably larger before the development of motorcycles and automobiles. A highly popular unit of the Police Department, the mounted force received numerous applications for appointment. Usually, however, the applicants lack the riding experience and skill required of men selected for this troupe, that now contains eight policeman who of at Calvary service. Moreover, vacancies in the mounted are few, only nine having occurred in the last 10 years.
Force Started in 1888
The mounted force was started back in 1888, with 14 men who patrolled the wharves and northern part of the city, and whose number was gradually increased to 25. In those days a mounted patrolman had some real writing to do, recalls a Sgt. Harry G. Schminkry, who joined the mounted 23 years ago after serving two years as a footman. His own daily assignment included riding from Greenmount Avenue to 33rd St. out to Walker Avenue, thence to Charles St., Avenue, the University Parkway back to 33rd St. Moreover, a mounted officer of horse and buggy days occasionally had an opportunity of showing off his writing skills, as well as being a hero, by stopping runaway teams. The adoption of motorcycles by the police department reduce the usefulness of the mounted force. Early in the 1920s it was made smaller and confined to the downtown business section, where horses are still highly useful for police work, even though they seldom have a chance to move faster than a walk. “10 mounted men are worth 100 foot patrolman in managing a crowd at a fire or parade,” says Capt. Henry C. Kaste, chief of the traffic division of the police department. A crowd who resist the efforts of an unmounted man to hold them in check will readily give way before an officer on horseback, he explains. Moreover, in directing street traffic a mounted officer has the advantage of being able to see much further than one on foot or on a motorcycle.
He Prefers Black Horses
A lover of horses, Capt. Kaste has a special fondness for Blacks, and would like to see the force completely equipped with horses of this color. At present the 16 horses of the force includes seven black ones, together with light brown and bays. Big boned and settle horses, around seven years of age, or the type chosen, since they must be strong enough to stand steady Street duty, as well as be able to “take traffic.” In fact, the department gives its horses a ten-day workout to test their reaction to traffic before buying them. So perfectly adapted to the bustling activity of city streets was a veteran police horse “Walt,” who died recently, that he would turn of his own accord whichever way traffic was moving, says the captain. Walt served with the force almost 16 years. To reward its force for long and faithful service, the Police Department now provided a life of ease for those two old for further duty by boarding them at a Baltimore County Humane Society. As a further tribute to their old mounts, the officers go out and ride them once each year in annual horse show given by the society.
Ribbons One at the Show
On the wall of Capt. Kaste’s office, at police headquarters, hang the color ribbons awarded retired horses at these shows, as well as a black band in honor of the deceased Walt. Naturally a gentle disposition is a trait demanded of these horses, whose very work concerns of the public safety. According to the officers their mounts have hosts of friends – persons who give them a lump of sugar, or pat them on the head. When officer changes his mount because his regular force is sick, or being reissued, these persons recognize the change immediately and want to know the whereabouts of their favorite. Some of the horses developed characteristics that become traditions in the force. Dandy, for example whose “beat” is Camden Street, raises his left foot and thanks for an apple or piece of sugar. Another horse became so accustomed to being fed suites by girls in a candy store that he refused to pay us the store until he received the lump or two.
All Names on Plaques
on the plaques above each stall in the Frederick Street stable you can see the names of various horses in the force – Prince, the Andy, Shorty, Jeff, smiles, Tony, Mullins and Teddy, to mention a few. The plaques bearing these names consists of cement horses heads, which patrolman Harry Keiffer cases in a metal mold. Patrolman Lewis Zulauf paints the plaques faithfully reproduce in the exact color and markings of each horse. During the summer months to mounted men, who patrolled the commission district, from marketplace to Camden and light Street, go on duty at four and 5 AM there are also four men who regularly direct traffic on foot, one such busy streets as Pratt and light, not getting into the saddle until the early morning rush has subsided.
The rest of the force arrives at the stable around 630, where each man settles his own mount, and awaits the order for departure. Most of the horses know their stalls so well that they returned to them of their own accord, after the saddles are in place and before the time comes for the men to mount them. Perhaps no other men spend more of their lives on horseback than these mounted patrolman, who are rarely out of the saddle during the days work, with the exception of the patrolman who work on Camden Street, where the crowded traffic frequently necessitates is dismounting in order to keep vehicles moving properly.
A Robber Arrested
In your occasionally a mounted policeman has a chance to use his horse and making an arrest a. A man, for example, robbed a shoe store on Howard Street and was running away when patrolman Frank Kuhn spied him. “I rode right up on the pavement towards him,” says Kuhn, “and when he saw me coming he said: “I give up” Between noon and 1:30 PM half of the force returns to the stable, unsettles its horses and goes out for lunch. The rest come in between 1:30 and three at 6 PM all returned their work completed for the day.
Photo courtesy Mike Kearney
Officer Frank I. Kearney, Whitridge Ave., in the 1940's
Photo courtesy Mike Kearney
Photo courtesy Mike Kearney
Officer Frank I. Kearney on his mount "STAR" (right),
Mount and Redwood Sts. in the 1940's
Photo courtesy Mike Kearney
Photo courtesy Mike Kearney
Officer Frank I. Kearney (right) on his mount "STAR" in the 1940's
Horse Patrol Now Fifty Years Old, With Sergeant Schminkey, 21 Years A Member, Its Dean
Fifteen Officers Spend Day In Saddle
Baltimore's mounted police paraded this morning at twenty-five minutes past 7. They parade every weekday morning. Two and two they ride out of the police stable at 27 South Frederick street, just below Water street. And because Frederick is a one-way street for southbound traffic only, they hold this formation until they reach the corner at Lombard street, where they separate and ride off to their posts. They have no music. But they make a brave show, clattering down Frederick street on their way to work. First On Job At 4 A. M. One member of the mounted force goes on duty in Market Place at 5 A. M. During the summer months another man is assigned to the produce market, around Camden and Light streets, beginning at 4 A. M. But the other members of the detachment arrive at the Frederick street stable between 6:30 and 6:45 A. M. They go upstairs to an office on the second floor front, a big room heated by an egg stove, where Sergeant Harry G. Schminkey smokes a clay pipe at a roll-top desk.
"Good morning. Sarg."
"Some weather we're having."
Each Checked Off
As each man comes in the sergeant checks him off and gives him his orders for the day. "Shall I take Dixie?" asks a patrolman. Dixie is one of the mounted horses. Use Same Mounts Yes. take Dixie, says the sergeant. But there aren't many questions. Unless a horse is sick or scheduled for a visit to the blacksmith shop, each man uses the same mount from day to day. Framed photographs of mounted officers hang around the walls of the upstairs room. And there are a lot of those plain wooden armchairs digenous to police stations and engine houses. Sometimes the mounted men sit down and catch a smoke with the sergeant. Sometimes they shine their shoes. Occasionally an officer a shave in the little washroom partitioned off one corner of the office. Each Saddles Own Horse At a quarter of seven they button up their overcoats, buckle on their Sam Browne pistol belts, go downstairs into the stable and begin to saddle up. Each man saddles his own horse. The black leather McClellan saddles, pads edge with yellow and bearing the polished brass Police Department emblem, sit on high wooden horses at the front of the stable. Each mounted policeman's stick hangs from a leather socket on his saddle pad. Blacks At Right, Bays At Left The stalls are farther back, a row on either side of the stable, black horses on the right bays and others on the left. Each horse has his name painted on a small black and yellow sign beside his stall --- Nebb, Dixie, Dock, Prince, Dandy, Smiles, Sparks, Jeff, Caspar, Sonny, Teddy, Walt, Ray, Tony and Mullins. Two hostlers, not policemen, have already groomed the horses. The officers lead their mounts out of their stalls put on their bridles and saddles and on cold days, black waterproof blankets initialed "P. D." in big yellow letters. Then the horses are put back in their stalls and the officers stand around waiting for the sergeant, who comes downstairs about 7:15 o'clock and say's: "All right, let's get ready." "Count Off" The policeman get their horses and line up down the center of the stable, each man at the left of his mount's head. "Right dress," says the sergeant. "Count off " the men count off by fours. Inspection The sergeant walks down the line inspecting his men, comes back to the head of the line and gives the order:" Prepare to mount." The policemen turn and raise their left feet to their left stirrups. One of the hostlers opens the stable doors. "Mount," say's the sergeant. Up they go. Out By Twos "Twos right," says the sergeant. The mounted policemen wheel by twos and sweep out into Frederick street, down Frederick to Lombard. Here the main body turns right, but two men turn left and two or three continue down Frederick street to Pratt, taking the shortest routes to their regular posts. Sergeant Reports They ride off without the sergeant, who, still on foot, leaves his horse in his stall and walks up to the police headquarters building to report to his superior officer, Capt. Henry C. Kaste, commander of the traffic division, and to receive any orders the captain may have for him. Baltimore's mounted service began in 1888 with fourteen men who patrolled the wharves and the northern suburbs on horseback. It increased to a force of twenty-five men. Then motor cycles and automobiles came in and the number of mounted men dropped to a dozen. But last year the strength of the detachment was increased again, this time to sixteen. On Duty Since 1927 Since 1927 the entire mounted force has been on duty in the downtown business section and along the water front, Where a mounted officer enjoys certain distinct advantages over a footman in the management of traffic. For one thing, a mounted officer can see farther. For another, he can move faster. Fifteen members of the mounted force, including the sergeant, spend their day in the saddle. The sixteenth remains on duty as a sort of telephone clerk in the upstairs office of the Frederick street stable, which, in the days of horse-drawn patrol wagons, used to be a police patrol station. Sergeant A Veteran Sergeant Schminkey, with a twenty-one-year record as a mounted policeman he joined the police force two years before he got a horse---is the oldest member of the detachment in point of service. A farm boy from New Freedom, Pa., he became a member of the mounted at a time when its vacancy went begging. Twenty years ago policemen weren't interested in riding horseback. But that isn't true any longer. The mounted service is now one of the most popular branches of the Police Department. When vacancies occur they are filled from a selected waiting list of foot patrolmen ---men who have had experience with horses. Six or seven members of the present mounted force are former cavalrymen. Little Night Work Although they are on duty from 7.30 in the morning until 6 o'clock at night, the mounted men seldom have any night work and rarely work on Sundays. Every· day at noon half of them ride back from their posts to the Frederick street stable for a lunch period of an hour and a half: The other half comes in for a similar rest at 1.30. Because of the small size of the mounted force, all its members are well known to those sections of the business, district in which they serve. This is particularly true of the retail shopping district, where three members of the force, take weekly turns working posts on Howard and Liberty streets. Jeff An Old Show Horse One of these men is Patrolman Edward Schuhart, who rides a silver-tailed dun-colored horse called Jeff. Jeff was originally a buckskin, but has faded out with age. He came to the police force from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Fair of the Iron Horse at Halethorpe. Jeff was a show horse, taking part in the pageant. William Harrison, who rides a bay named Dock, and Edward Ellis, who usually has a chestnut mount named Smiles, are the other two members of the shopping district detail. Another well-known horse of the mounted is Dandy, a sorrel. With a thirteen year service record, he's the stable veteran and is considered the mounted's best parade horse. Horses Cost About $250 A police horse costs about $250, and his equipment, exclusive of shoes, another $200. He wears a special iron shoe with a rubber heel to prevent slipping. New horses are selected by Sergeant Schminkey and Captain Kaste. They prefer big-boned, settled horses, around 7 years oil and fifteen hands high, either blacks or bays. The horses have to be pretty tough to stand steady street duty. They have to have good nerves, able to "take traffic. City traffic sets some horses crazy. The Police Department gives all its mounts a ten-day workout to see if they will "take traffic" before they buy them. New horses must also stand a complete physical examination by the Police Department veterinarian, L Dr. L. Hickman. Mounted officers are responsible for their horses only when they're on the street. Hostlers do the feeding, currying and other work around the stables. In the winter time when the streets are dangerously slippery, the horses remain in their stable and the mounted officers do their work on foot.
Downtown Streets Its Habitat
Breaks Up Many Traffic Jams
Whether leading a parade, or in service breaking traffic jams, the mounted division is among the most colorful divisions of the Baltimore Police Department and always attracts the attention of the pedestrians. During the almost forty years of its existence the mounted division has been gradually bettered until today with its seventeen men and officers, not to mention the horses, it is probably the best mounted division in the country. It is a part of the traffic division and therefore is under direct command of Captain Henry Kaste. For years uncounted, its principal activities has been confined to Light and Pratt streets where shipping matters engage the labors of the various trucking concerns. Years ago it was thought that the widening of Light street would care for any traffic problems but increased business on the street has made the work of the mounted officers more responsible. Further north, Baltimore, Eutaw, Howard and Lexington streets require the attention of the mounted Division. But at the head of a parade men and horses come into their own and reflect great credit on the police department. The members of the mounted division and their equine mounts are as follows:
SERGEANTS - D. McBride-Dixie. H. Schminkey-Charlie. OFFICERS W. Salisbury-Sparks. E. Ellis-King. H. Kiefer-Toney. L. Zulauf-Beauty. E. Schuhart -Shorty. W. Harrison-Buck. F. Kearney-Star. F. Kuhn-Radio. T. Bedworth-Blackie. W. McKelden-Smiles. H. Frank-Duke. C. Quinn-Toby. C. Gable-Teddy. J. Cossentino-Blackout. J. Hemler-Sonny.
L to R Teufer, unk, Bill Kromer, Bob Petza, Tom Bretzik, Sgt. Tom Wahlen
A Persistent Officer
Fortitude and Bravery His Buckler
Sergeant John L. Neussinger Fights On
By FRANK E. GOULD
JOHN L. NEUSSINGER
Sergeant in Traffic Division
Topping the list for promotion in the Baltimore Police Department has ceased to be a novelty to Sergeant John L. Neussinger, attached to the Traffic Division. In an examination held recently, Sergeant Neussinger was placed on eligible list for lieutenant, which holds good for one year. In this test he led 153 Sergeants, and along with five other candidates, he tied for first place honors, receiving an average of 99 per cent. He has had the highest average for the third successive year, and in every examination in which Sergeant Neussinger participated, he received a high average. In the year 1931, along with 1,053 others, he qualified in test for probationary patrolman" receiving an average of 98 per cent. He was placed 28th on eligible list and with fifty-seven other candidates he shared second-place honors. He took examination for probationary patrolman only once. In the year 1938, he was placed seventh on eligible list for sergeant, receiving an average of 98 per cent, and in this test he also shared second- placed honors. He took examination for sergeant only once. In the last five years, Sergeant Neussinger has taken examination for lieutenant, and in the five different tests he came out with high honors, as follows:
1940 - averaged 891/2 per cent, 9th on list.
1941 - averaged 91 per cent, 5th on list.
1942 - averaged 98 per cent, first place with one.
1943 - averaged 99 per cent, first place with one.
1944 - averaged 99 per cent, first place with five.
Sergeant Neussinger was appointed by General Charles D. Gaither to the Baltimore Police Department on October 29, 1931-and was assigned to the Southwestern District. He was transferred from the Southwestern District to the Traffic Division on February 18, 1932, remaining there ever since. And on May 19, 1939, he was advanced to the grade of Sergeant by Commissioner Robert F. Stanton, remaining in the Traffic Division. Sergeant Neussinger, since his entry into the Baltimore Police Department, which is now almost 13 years, has been in the "limelight" frequently, and also has had varied experiences and several very close calls, one especially, which he had received only after two months of service an injury which came very near costing him his right hand last year. On September the 4th, 1943 Police Commissioner Hamilton R. Atkinson and other high ranking officers of the Baltimore Police Department, called Sergeant Neussinger," one of the gamest policemen on the force," when he went to the Mercy hospital for the eighteenth operation on his right hand, which was injured in line of duty. Since then he has had another operation, and still very hopeful that it's the last. Sergeant Neussinger, then a probationary patrolman with only two months of service, surprised two colored men robbing the office of a lumber company in the Southwestern section of the city, on the night of December 30, 1941, about 11 P.M. One of the negroes pulled the trigger of his gun several times, but it failed to fire. As he did so the second negro appeared, armed with a knife and both leaped on him, carrying him to the ground, attempting to take his revolver, however, without any success. When several policemen came to Neussinger's rescue, -they found him to be bleeding profusely and near collapse, but he still held on to the one prisoner. Neussinger suffered deep gashes from the knife on the face, neck, right arm and both hands, as one of the negroes attempted to cut his throat. The most severe wound he received was to his right hand. Surgeons found that the knife had severed an artery, tendons and tissues and that the swelling was due to failure of the blood to circulate. An operation was performed and relief, however, was only temporary and the next twelve years found the patrolman in the hospital once each year and sometimes twice for additional operations, in order to save the hand. Throughout this ordeal Neussinger never lost hope that one of the operations would in time, effect a permanent cure. On September 25, 1939, the middle finger of his right hand was amputated, and he returned back to duty October 31, 1939, and then shortly thereafter the hand again began to swell, with some more operations in the offing, and on October 26, 1943 two more fingers were amputated. Sergeant Neussinger is always hopeful, as Doctor Mohr and Elliott H. Hutchins, police surgeons stated, they thought this operation was very successful and there should not be any further trouble. Sergeant Neussinger returned back to duty in uniform on December 6, 1943, and hasn't lost a day since. He has only the thumb and small finger on his right hand left, but it is really amazing what he can do with just the two fingers. He can write, and use a typewriter and do the same as heretofore. He can shoot his revolver with his left hand and still maintain marksmanship and since being back to duty he has made numerous arrests and can well take care of himself. Sergeant Neussinger's only regret is that he no longer can play the piano, organ and string instruments, which he used to do quite a bit. Neussinger's handwriting has not been impaired whatsoever, and. he still writes with only' two· fingers, which is very remarkable, and he makes up all details and daily assignments of the footmen in the Traffic Division. On August 12, 1932, about 8 P.M., while a patrolman and directing traffic at the intersection of Howard and Fayette Streets, Neussinger, released from Mercy Hospital, only two days previous, caught a chain-gang fugitive, who held up a clerk in the cigar store. at Howard and Baltimore Streets with a loaded revolver. He was disarmed by Neussinger, found guilty and sentenced to three years in the penitentiary and later was returned to prison camp to serve the rest of an eleven year sentence, also for a hold-up, and was imprisoned only two months when he escaped. On April 28, 1935 about 2 P.M. while a patrolman and directing traffic at the intersection of Park Avenue and Lexington Streets, Neussinger caught a purse thief as scores of startled shoppers saw a mother and daughter struggle with pocketbook thief. At the Western Police District, the thief was found guilty and convicted. On August 13, 1935, about 8 :30 P.M., while a patrolman and directing traffic at the intersection of Light and Conway Streets, Neussinger caught an armed Penal Farm fugitive from Roxbury, Md. A relative of the fugitive saw him riding in an automobile and notified the Southern Police District, a general alarm was given over the police call box system and a record was affected when Neussinger caught the fugitive ten minutes after the alarm was given, riding in an automobile north on Light street. He was disarmed by Neussinger and returned to the penal farm. On November 14, 1936, about 2 :15 P.M., while a patrolman and directing traffic on the Southwest corner of intersection at Howard and Lexington streets, Neussinger arrested a colored man who was drunk, zig-zagged vehicle at the height of Saturday afternoon rush period, observed motorist go against traffic signal, almost taking down several pedestrians, and at his own risk, Neussinger, hopped on running board of taxi-cab and then on the running board of automobile operated by a drunk, stopped the motor and pulled the negro from automobile. He was found guilty and convicted. On May 7,1937, about 4 :30 P.M., while a patrolman and directing traffic in front of the Police Headquarters, at the intersection of Fayette street and the Fallsway, Neussinger observed for a distance of two blocks an automobile, west bound on Fayette street, being driven on the wrong side of the street, thereby causing a traffic jam at the intersection and middle of block. When Neussinger approached the machine to give the operator a reprimand, he found that the operator of automobile was a doctor who stopped his car suddenly, rendering medical care to a young woman who was giving birth to a premature child while enroute to the Mercy Hospital. After assisting the doctor, Neussinger stepped up onto the running board of automobile, blowing his police whistle to clear traffic, raced the automobile to the hospital where it was said both mother and child were doing well. On March 22, 1941, about 5 :30 P.M., a lone gunman terrorized hundreds of Saturday Pre-Easter shoppers in Lexington Street. He held up a ladies dress shop on West Lexington Street near Park Avenue, and herded women customers and employees into a corner of store with a loaded .38 caliber revolver. Shoppers fled in near-panic as they saw the bandit run from the store out into Lexington street, and into other stores, and was caught by Sergeant Neussinger. While in the midst of a crowded shopping store he tried to use revolver on Sergeant Neussinger. However, he was disarmed, placed under arrest. He was found guilty and convicted. Convict had a police record from 1930 to 1937 of five counts on robbery with machine gun and revolvers and one count of automobile theft. He was sentenced to nine years in the Maryland Penitentiary. Sergeant Neussinger is six feet and one and half inches of policeman, weighing about 180 pounds, has black wavy hair, brown eyed, very quick in his mental reactions and his movements. His friends describe him as' a policeman of unusual acuteness and one who really has learned the real value of courtesy in dealing with the public. He possesses qualities of leadership. Military in his bearing, no speck is allowed to light on his uniform. His shoes are always shined, and his brass buttons are well polished, making them look as if they were gold-plated also. The creases are kept where they belong. His erect carriage, alertness, politeness and geniality cannot fail to impress those with whom he comes in contact. He is very ambitious having acquired much wisdom from his library at his home, with a collection of two hundred or more volumes dealing with traffic and criminal law. He has the latest Ordinances and Acts which have been passed and will, in any way affect his duties and responsibilities. He is a very conscientious officer and his superiors say: "That he can be depended upon to meet any assignment." Neussinger is well known throughout the Police Department to be a fine and highly respected officer and his promotion, in time, to Lieutenant, will be looked upon with high, favor throughout the department and the public at large, as there are, ever so many, that are unstinting in their praise of the Sergeant and in expressions of their regard for him. He is very considerate, however, he can be very stern when there is ,need for it, as he is a firm believer in discipline. His hobbies are: keeping scrapbooks and records of all sorts pertaining to police; likes movies and collects souvenirs. Sergeant Neussinger has been commended five times for meritorious service. He also received the highest award, a Gold medal for Humane Action in the year 1935 from the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The year 1933 he received the "Sharpshooter" silver bar, and in the year 1934 he received the "Expert" silver bar for shooting from the Baltimore Police Department. The Sergeant can always be seen at all big events handling traffic throughout the city. In the year 1936 he assisted in a Safety Campaign sponsored by the Baltimore Police Department and the Studebaker cooperating. In the year 1940 he was in charge of "Guard of Honor" for the Knee-Hi Safety Campaign. Demonstrations given to over 75,000 school children throughout the city and which was sponsored by the Police Department and the Baltimore Safety Council as well as the Sunpapers. In the year 1941 he had charge of a squad of Traffic Officers who were detailed in Washington, D. C. for the Presidential Inauguration.
L to R John Moran with flag, Chuck Esler, Teufer and Larry Merrifield on the blonde horse
Mounted Methods Still Effective
Law enforcement in 1971 has reached the stage where it is, to say the least, sophisticated. The Baltimore Police Department is equipped with many of the most modern and up-to-date tools of the law enforcement profession. Radio equipped patrol cars, emergency vehicle units, motorcycles, scooters, boats and even helicopters are provided to assist the individual patrolman., He has, in many cases, instant communications from anywhere because of the walkie-talkie which hangs from his hip. The police officer, for his part, is well trained and is a true professional in all senses of the word. The citizens of the City of Baltimore, at least a great many of them, have voiced a certain amount of pride in their Police Department and the men who serve them, in a variety of ways, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With the ever increasing mechanization of the Department, reliance on modern technology and use of innovative techniques in law enforcement, it may to some, seem surprising to see a police officer riding down the street on a horse. Yet, today, any motorist downtown is very likely to do just that. He'll see a uniformed officer atop a prancing horse weaving in and out of the traffic, handing out traffic summonses and assisting those in need. This is not, as it may appear, a concession to the "Olden Days". It is, instead, a clearly visible example of the maximum use of resources in an ever modernizing police organization. The Department's Mounted Division, consisting of 22 men and 17 horses, meets an obvious need. With traffic heavy in the more congested downtown area, the Department needs a means to be able to answer calls for service in situations where police cars cannot get through traffic and a man on foot couldn't get to the location quickly enough. An officer on horseback provides the answer. He can respond to a particular location regardless of the traffic conditions. If it's an emergency he can use the sidewalks or alley-ways not wide enough or clear enough to allow passage of a vehicle. A visit to the Department's stables, located in the Unit Block S. Frederick Street results in a better understanding of the role of a Mounted Division, in modern police work. It must be pointed out that today there are nearly two-dozen cities which maintain Mounted Divisions. The work in almost every major city remains the same, the control of congested traffic and response to service calls in the Mounted Officer's area of patrol. The Mounted Division moved to its present location in 1923. Through the years the officers, atop their well-cared for horses, have been a delight to both residents of the City and to visitors who see them as a symbol of law enforcement. Presently there are 17 horses quartered at Frederick Street. There are 15 Mounted Officers and 2 Sergeants; in addition, a crew of 5 hostlers keep the stables clean and care for the animals. Each officer is assigned a particular animal for which he is responsible. They work a 5-day, 40-hour week in two shifts. It is interesting to note the special considerations given the non-human member of the "team". Each horse is assigned a badge and is a "member" of the Department. He works an 8-hour day, the same as his rider, and, this includes a 30-minute lunch break. In addition, each animal is "rested" for at least 10-minutes, preferably 15-minutes every hour. The needs of horses are special, especially when they spend their working days assisting in the patrol of Baltimore's downtown area. For example, each animal must get plenty of exercise, even when not working. If an officer is on vacation, the horse assigned to him is "worked" at least three days a week. This serves to keep him in shape and prevents stiffness.
The "personal" needs of the horses are not overlooked. In the summer time, when the animal has completed his tour of duty, he is groomed and then given a cooling shower before being fed. The diet of the Department's horses is surprisingly varied to provide maximum nourishment. The staple food, of course, is hay and 5 bales are used daily to provide for the 17 animals. In addition, each feed box is filled with approximately 3 quarts of oats per day. Several times a week, the hostlers prepare what could be considered a "gourmet meal" for their charges, "sweet feed". This is a mixture of oats and corn held together with molasses. Aside from providing a pleasant treat for the animals, it's packed with needed vitamins and minerals to insure the health and well-being of the four-legged "members" of the Department. Medical treatment is one of the most important elements in the lives of the horses. They are regularly examined by a Veterinarian, provided shots to prevent infection and given dental and eye examinations. The Department gets its horses from several sources. Some are donated, outright, as a gift. Others are purchased from area farms on a unique trial basis. Each animal purchased is bought with a 30-day option. For a month his rider trains him and rides him in the downtown area. This gives the officer the opportunity to evaluate the animal to insure his fitness for police work in a noisy city. If the new horse passes the initial "workout" and a complete medical examination, he becomes a "member" of the Mounted Division. In addition to a good disposition and health, size is an important element of selection. Policemen are larger than jockeys, and their jobs more rigorous than that of many "cowboys", so the animals selected must be large enough to carry both rider and his equipment. It is estimated that the combined additional weight on the horse's back, including rider, saddle and all of the equipment needed for policing is approximately 260 pounds. The essential element of the "team" is the police officer-rider. Each is an expert horseman, most have ridden since childhood. In addition, the officers are all men of experience in regular police work, each having spent years in various districts before assignment to the Mounted Division.
The officer is responsible for the health and performance of his "teammate". And in to day's society he must be on the alert at all times for the protection of both he and his mount. The Officer must assure that the horse does not inadvertently kick or bump a bystander. He must also be certain that the horse isn't exposed to unnecessary dangers. The age old admonition about "taking candy from strangers" is especially applicable today. In some cities horses have been poisoned in the very presence of an officer who thought the citizen was giving his animal a "treat" . The uniform of the Mounted Officer remains distinctive. The blouse and trousers bear the yellow braid which is "reminiscent of the Cavalry. The yellow braid is also evident on the white hat and yellow is the color used for the rank insignia of the 2 Sergeants who supervise their fellow Mounted Division Officers. Together the police officer and his horse remain an impressive presence in the City of Baltimore. They work their posts with enthusiasm generally to the delight of the motorists and the passersby including many children who seldom have the opportunity to see a man riding on horseback. In addition they provide services vital to the orderly flow of traffic downtown and for the enforcement of the law in Baltimore.
Photo courtesy of Nancy Crane-Bentz
Officer Eugene Crane (above and below) and his mount "Jet"
Photo courtesy of Nancy Crane-Bentz
BALTIMORE POLICE NEWSLETTER
Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau leads a contingent from the Traffic Division's Mounted Unit during the Annual "I Am An American Day Parade" held on September 10, 1978. The East Baltimore Parade route was lined with hundreds of thousands of people watching the traditional event.
Greg Holevas and Teufer
P/O Ronald Teufer
P/O Ronald Teufer
City's Mounted Patrol: A Serious Job That Is a Lot 'Like Being a Kid Again'
Katie Gunther Kodat
Apr 3, 1987
pg. 1C Meet of the Greg Faherty, also known as the concrete cowboy, champion of the truth, Justice and the American way, a legend in his own mind
You think it’s a joke? Just asking.
“I am Greg Faherty, also known as the concrete cowboy…..”
“Say the rest, Gray,” urged Sgt. Larry Lewis.
“… The champion of the truth, Justice and the American way, a legend in my own mind, I’ve been in this unit five years and it seems like just yesterday. I’ve been having such fun.”
Sgt. Lewis groaned and leaned is cheek against the palm of one hand. “It sure pays the wear boots around here,” he drawled
in more ways than one. Welcome to the mounted division of the Baltimore city Police Department, where Street Smarts and horse sense join forces in the fight against crime.
No one is really sure how long the city has had a mounted division – Sgt. Lewis, the unit commander, says there have been mounted police in Baltimore at least in late 1800s. But is fairly certain that for as long as it’s been around, the unit always has been one of the most coveted assignments in the department.
“It’s like being a kid again,” said officer Faherty.
“This is the place where everybody wants to be,” Ofc. Kirk Montague said. “I big to come here.”
Of course, if you’re frightened the horses, and if you get sore just think about spending several hours a day in the saddle, you may not think it’s such a hot job. But if you relish horseback riding, are good at public relations and – most important – enjoy being the object of affection and admiration of hundreds of city children, this is the place for you.
“That’s the fun part: going down the street and seeing the mothers with their kids, saying, “look at the horse,” said officer Montague, an “the criminal element couldn’t care less about the horse,” said Sgt. Lewis
however, a lack of compassion on the part of the criminal “criminal element” does not translate into a lack of fear of the “equine element” there is something about a mounted officer that seems to deter certain types of street crime, such as daytime household burglaries and purse snatching’s. As a result, mounted police are increasingly being sent out on special details in areas of Reisterstown Road to Washington Boulevard for a high police profile [and you can’t get much higher than horseback] is deemed necessary.
And there’s nothing quite as dramatic as an officer on horseback clattering down the street in full gallop, chasing a suspect in the middle of traffic.
“Yeah, it tends to grab people’s attention,” Sgt. Lewis said.
Just as it takes a certain kind of person to make a police officer, so it takes a certain kind of forced to make a police mount. Like the ideal officer, the ideal police force is “quiet, even-tempered, cold-blooded,” Sgt. Lewis said.
Most of the 19 horses in the unit are donated, but that doesn’t mean the department takes glue factory rejects. In fact, the “washout” factor in the unit is pretty high: by far the majority of the candidates never make it into the 60 day trial. At the small, immaculately Stables one Holiday Street beneath the Jones falls Expressway.
If a horse is being offered to the department, Sgt. Lewis first takes a look at it in its home corral. “We bring up a radio car, turned on the sirens and lights and see how he does,” he said, “if they’re spooked right then, we won’t take him.”
Thoroughbreds, for example, are almost always eliminated without a second look: two high strong for the law enforcement light. Morgan’s and Arabians are also usually rejected because they’re too short.
“I like him at least 15.1 hands just above 5 feet” Sgt. Lewis said, “I like Ewing’s, and we prefer the 5 to 10-year-olds as far as age. And we like basically dark-colored horses.” Dark-colored horses? “Well, your light-colored horses, in times of shedding, hair gets all over your uniform” he said, “it’s not hard rule; we have had Palomino’s. But I don’t like the idea of an officer on a Pinto, say – it’s too cowboy looking. This is a military type operation and we try to keep a sense of uniformity in the ranks.”
As a result of those strict criteria, the all American day or Chestnut quarter horse is well represented in the ranks of the city Police Department, either in purebred such as R. C. Officer Faherty’s mount, or in a variety of cross breeds. There are also a handful of Tennessee walking horses in the unit, animals that are popular with the officers because of their smooth gait and phlegmatic disposition.
Even after a horse has been taken into the unit, though, there is no guarantee that it will stay. “Sometimes they come in their and do real well, then all of a sudden it’s like they decide, “nope, this isn’t for me.” And we have to worst them out,” Sgt. Lewis said.
To get into the mount unit, the officers, to, have to meet certain standards. “They have to serve their time on the streets, at least three years, “Sgt. Lewis said, “we want an officer whose aggressive, but also good in public relations. Even when you’re on a crime detail as opposed to a trap as assignment, kids will come up and want to pet the horse.”
It’s nice of the officers have some experience around horses, but is not necessary. Everyone takes an eight week writing course, for riding in the midst of the city is not the same as trail riding in the country and the hazards extend beyond the “criminal element”
“I like to see some people use some common sense,” Sgt. Lewis said, “people will come up and pet [the horse] on the rear end,” an open investigation for a kick. “And I’d like to see people take more care and passing the police force when there in their cars, we screen the horses, but there an animal after all, and nothing is certain,”
city police horses are usually retired when they reach the age of 25. The department will give the horse free to anyone with at least an acre of land and a good sized barn; the person also has to agree to keep the horse through his natural life without selling him or running them out for pleasure writing.
However, parents of horse and grazed little girls should keep this in mind before calling department; there is a 12 year waiting list with the names of 300 people who meet the retirement requirements. And the department is and even a third of the way through the list yet.
Officer Ed Fellows (above) on "Sabre" in the Preakness Parade 1977
Officer Fellows left the department around 1985
Sergeant Thomas Whalen with "ROOKIE"
Officer R. H. Teufer
Charlie the mount of Patrolman McKelden, turns with the traffic unaided. Charlie’s at home in the swirl of traffic at Pratt and Light Streets
Horses with Blue Coats
Mar 10, 1946
Baltimore’s mounted policemen are a bunch of softies – Where their horses are concerned.
The world’s “sentimental” and policeman” or sometimes associated with one another by the average motorist or pedestrian, but then the average motorist has never spent any time down around the Baltimore Police Department’s stables on Frederick Street.
And the horses – which print so proudly at the head of a parade or stand place in Italy in a swirl or the traffic jam – are more sentimental than any police man.
Take the case of old Walt, veteran of 10 years in the mounted police, patrolman John George had written Walt for 10 years in the Camden market district and, despite his age, Walt was still a spry and alert horse.
The patrolman George had to retire because of ill health. When a newcomer mounted Walt the day after patrolman George retires, Walt was suddenly not the same horse. He began to be whiny, shook his head and his step faltered. That was the beginning of the end for Walt.
Police forces, like police men, are eligible for retirement when they have served their tour of duty, so Walt was retired to the pasture of the Humane Society of Baltimore at Pikesville, as he was led into the pasture, everyone expected him to settle down to a well-earned rest, to crop the juicy grass and romp with the others like himself.
But Walt was a sentimental police force. When the gate clicks shot he trotted up to it and wind. He stood there a long time, repeating his call and pricking up his ears for the answer that never came.
From the first moment of his retirement, won’t never settle down to quiet contentment. He raced up and down the fences pausing only to look anxiously at each passerby. He lost his appetite he became so thin his ribs stood out in his backbone formed a high sharp bridge. In six months Walt had died.
That was in 1939, today in a little lot on a hillside behind the Humane Society’s building, Walt’s grave Israel off and flanked by young pine trees. Over in the weather-beaten marker tells of the long association between the horse and patrolman named George.
“They say it was a case of heartbreak,” patrolman George said the other day at his home, 1319 North Montford Ave. “Maybe it was. I’m sorry I couldn’t go to see Walt then as I should have. But I was sick. I think Walt’s death does a lot to show the difference between horses and people. As people we all have our little troubles enjoys to divert us. But that poor horse had just one thing in his heart and brain and nothing could take his attention from it. “Walt used to follow me everywhere if I wanted to get away from him for a minute. I had to tie him fast, and then you could hear his bit champing and just for forefoot pawing at the pavement. When you see me coming back his ears would prick up and maybe he’d become a bit whiny. Then he turned to his left side to me so I could mount him, because on the force we always get one from that side. I wish I could’ve taken Walt with me when I retired – if I had only a little place for him!”
The poignant story of Walt and George is a natural incident in such a group as the mounted squad, where men and horses work together and nourish a mutual devotion through the years. In
The 17 men on the force feel they are less than half the squad was out to steady nerves and good heads of the 17 horses upon which they rely, since the best efforts of the policeman on a giddy horse would come to naught. In the crush of the downtown traffic policeman and horses trust each other, cool and confident even in nerve – wrecking jams where death makes him of a false move. The city wise horses can sense a traffic snarl almost as quickly as their riders; just a touch of the spur and a try sure footedly into the tangle.
Perhaps it is the love of being a partner. One of the team. As much as the affection for one another and engendered by time, that has idealized the relationship of the mounted policeman and his horse. When a man has spent 10 ½ hours a day, six days a week on one horse for 1015 or even 20 years there is no need for cues or signals – one knows what the other will do in a given circumstances: and the partnership is snooze and mellow. In the mounted squad stable at 27 South Frederick St. The horses are sometimes seen nuzzling their riders at the end of the day’s work – a sort of good night gesture.
The Future of the Baltimore Police Mounted Unit
by Maxine Streicher
Wednesday, June 17th 2020
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - The Baltimore City Police Department's mounted unit is the oldest continuously operated in the country, but that might not be the case much longer.
Mayor Jack Young signed the 2021 budget including millions of dollars in cuts to the Baltimore Police Department. Nearly $554,000 included cuts to the department's mounted unit. Just two years ago the city broke ground on a $2.5 million construction project to stable the mounted unit in Southwest Baltimore on the property of the B& O railroad. The money was generated in large part through fundraising. The plan promised to provide numerous benefits for the horses, officers, and the community who could visit the stables. The Board of Estimates approved a lease agreement with the First Mile Stable Charitable Foundation to rent the $2.7 acres to police under a 15 year agreement.
According to the contract the annual rent is $96,000 paid in monthly installments. We asked police Wednesday if it's official the mounted unit will be eliminated and if so will the department be penalized for breaking their lease with the new stable or on the hook to pay for the next 15 years? A police spokesperson said "The budget was only signed off on today. With that being said, none of those details are known to us at this time. When plans have been mapped out and finalized, we will make the media aware of what's to come. According to police, the mounted unit currently has four horses that are housed at the Fallsway Stables.
Baltimore could face unintended cost following Council’s cut of mounted police unit
Jun 22, 2020
By Ian Round
Private investment mostly paid for the new stable in southwest Baltimore. If the city breaks the lease, it may be on the hook.
The future of the Baltimore Police Department’s brand-new stable is unclear after the City Council slashed the mounted unit’s budget for next year. First Mile Stable, on property owned by the B&O Railroad Museum, was completed recently, and the mounted unit was set to move in any day.
The city didn’t pay for the $3.5 million facility, which was funded largely through private investment from the Knott Foundation, St. John Properties and others. But it did sign a 15-year lease in November 2018, agreeing to provide a year’s notice if it intended to cancel.
Now the city stands to break the lease and bear the “unamortized” cost of the facility, which accounts for depreciation. Since the stable has never been used, the city may have to pay back the full $3.5 million.
The City Council “moved very quickly,” said Kris Hoellen, executive director of the B&O Railroad Museum, and “may not have been aware that the city had signed a lease with the B&O.”
“There is a financial consequence to not fulfilling that lease,” she told The Brew.
Councilman John Bullock, who represents the southwest district, voted for most of the $22.3 million in cuts to the BPD’s 2021 budget, but not for this one.
“There wasn’t a lot of consideration as to what the next steps would be,” he said. The BPD did not respond to a request for comment.
In an email asking the mayor and City Council not to defund the mounted unit, the Mt. Clare Community Association said the stable represents a meaningful investment in an overlooked part of the city.
While acknowledged that officials “have to make tough decisions,” the association called the budget cut “a disappointing setback for our disenfranchised community.”
“After decades of underdevelopment, the sight of the newly constructed First Mile Stable was our light at the end of a dark tunnel,” the statement reads. “It was evidence that our community wasn’t forgotten after years of broken promises to develop and invest.”
The association described the stable as a unique opportunity to improve police-community relations, saying, “We’re absolutely heartbroken that this decision was made without our input or consideration of how it would negatively impact our community.”
Hoellen agreed, noting the unit’s emphasis on educating school groups and building strong relationships. She said the mounted unit provides the kind of community policing that the BPD’s consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice calls for.
“The mounted unit are ambassadors for the police,” she said. “They are doing community policing. I think people have the wrong impression of the mounted unit.”
Attorney Craig Roswell, resident agent of First Mile Stable Charitable Foundation, the entity through which money for the stable was raised, said a key goal of the project was to have a “positive impact on the west side of town.”
“We’re trying to create positive interactions between the community and the police,” he said.
Critics see the mounted unit differently, criticizing the intimidation tactics of police on horseback during crowd control situations and questioning their use otherwise as largely a public relations tool.
With the Covid-19 pandemic causing steep revenue shortfalls – and a growing movement in Baltimore and elsewhere to defund the police in the wake of the killing of George Floyd – several City Council members saw the mounted unit and the marine unit as a needless expenses.
“I am in support of divesting from the police department and investing in our youth and neighborhoods,” tweeted Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, expressing the mood of many Council members.
Bullock and others said they are worried that donors may think twice the next time they have a chance to fund a project for the city.
“What we don’t want to have is to have philanthropists saying we are not acting in good faith,” Bullock said.
“I’m fielding calls from donors on a pretty regular basis now,” Roswell added. “It raises real concerns in their minds about investing in Baltimore.”
The unit’s budget of $554,000 for fiscal 2021 represents a small portion of BPD’s half-billion-dollar budget.
Bullock acknowledged that the mounted unit, the oldest continuously-operated one in the country, may not be providing the greatest return on investment, but he emphasized its relatively small cost to taxpayers.
“It’s not the most significant investment the city is making,” he said.
In addition to Bullock, Councilmen Eric Costello and Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer voted against defunding the mounted unit.
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