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Losing Police Horses Is Tough Adjustment For NJ Cops

Losing Police Horses Is Tough Adjustment For NJ Cops

The motto of the Newark Mount Police Department located in the entrance at the Newark stables. The department dates back to 1891. (Newark Mounted Police Photo)

The Star-Leger via YellowBrix

January 11, 2011

NEWARK — Mario Nodari, the 80-year-old farrier for the Newark Mounted Police, was getting Bold Ruler ready for transport. In his dusty work stall, with an anvil on the floor and a workboard of hammers both antique in age and ancient in design, Nodari gently bent back each of the horse’s legs, and pried off the shoes.

“When they’re out of duty, I have to pull the shoes and trim his feet,” Nodari said. “You can’t ship them with shoes, because if they kick the trailer, they do too much damage.”

The fact Nodari says “feet” rather than “hooves,” is an example of the how police horses, like police dogs, are seen as partners by the people who work with them, which is why these are sad times at Newark Mounted Police stables.

Because of budget cuts, the mounted patrol was suspended in the fall, and was scheduled to be disbanded at the end of January.

Five of Newark’s 18 horses have already been shipped to a farm in Allentown. There are empty stalls where "Chief"’ “Captain” and “Billy Club” once lived. Their names, painted into the Newark Mounted logo, remain, as if, someday, they might return.

Another four will be going to Philadelphia this week, where the mounted police unit is being revived six years after budget cuts did it in.

Of the 16 mounted officers, fourteen have been re-assigned to squad cars and other patrol duties.

“I feel bad for these kids,” Nodari said. “They love these horses, and they love their job.”

Garry McCarthy, the Newark police director, wants to save the proud, 120-year-old traditional unit, or at least part of it.

“We’re looking for ways to fund it,” he said Monday, before a meeting with Mayor Cory Booker.

“I spend about a quarter of my time raising money,” Booker said. “And when we talked about what to do with some potential, philanthropic funding, the police director said he wanted to use it for the mounted unit.”

Philadelphia has done just that. About $100,000 has been raised, with Comcast Corp., 7-Eleven Inc., and Verizon Wireless donated a total of $50,000.

Nodari says Newark’s horses and the stables are too good to dismantle. The mounts are former standard-bred racehorses. He pointed to Black Jack as an example.

“This horse won a race at the Meadowlands. He ran the track in 1:53.4,” he said. “But had to retire with a hindquarter injury, but he took to the street, no problem.”

As for Newark’s facility, “there is no better place,” Nodari said. This is a worthy opinion. Nodari is a third-generation blacksmith and farrier, who had a shop at Garden State Racetrack in Cherry Hill and the Meadowlands. He’s done work for NYPD, and been with the Newark Mounted Police for 45 years.

Newark’s police stables are in a large corrugated metal building between Orange Street and NJ Transit train tracks leading into Broad Street station. Outside, is a life-size horse statue. Inside, is an exercise ring for horses, with a sprinkler system to keep dust down, a tack room and Nodari’s shop.

A century’s worth of photographs on the “Wall of Honor, Est. 1891,” is evidence horses far pre-date squad cars and motorcycles in public peacekeeping.

On that wall are pictures of officers and mounts, long gone. There are grainy black-and-whites of parade details and other formations, some pictures show children petting police steeds. There are many from days when mounted police wore hats, not helmets. And while police uniforms changed over the years, the design of the blue saddle blankets with gold NPD lettering did not.

The tack room holds the saddles and stirrups and bridles, and each officers’ helmet and riding boots and gloves. It is a place of hardened leather, brass fasteners and a tradition as durable as both. Whether it can endure still, remains to be seen.


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  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    over 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    @BForJuvCor I do see your Point, and not doubting Horses are effective, But were talking about a City whos Crime is becoming out of control, and an environment where a 14 year old goes two blocks and comes back with a .44. Unlike Allstate, the guns there are not in good hands, and I doubt if a horse can outrun a bullet.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    over 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    I think horses are one Magnificant Creature, and there's a certain sense of Nostagia having the Mounted Police, However, anyone familiarized with that area, would probably agree It's not the Safest invironment for a Horse. Newark layed off 167 LEO's(Neighbori Towns are doing the Same or Soon to follow) . Carjackings seems to be the only consistancy you will find in that City. Stolen Cars, Reckless Drivers or an Illegal Immigrant that doesn't want to be caught, will hit that Officer and his Horse and keep going. or a young adult Perpatrating a Robbery of a Shopper/Stores or Banks May just Miss fire. IMO, An officer in a Patrol Car Seems to be the Safer Solution Right Now, Until the CIty can get a grip on Assualts involving Armed Suspects.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    BForJuvCor

    over 3 years ago

    846 Comments

    As a horse owner i can say that this is sad. The average land speed of a horse is 47 mph on average for a Quarter horse. A human is less that 1/3 of that on average (take weight, physique and social activities into consideration). Where a car can't go a horse sometimes can and if it is on grass they have more control. I think Newark needs all the help it can get judging by the crime reports from that area.To those who ride, oh yeah a horse can move a hundred people really fast. 1,400 lbs of moving muscle gotta love it.

  • Lakewood_pd_max50

    mudpuppynj

    over 3 years ago

    384 Comments

    Corey Booker has no clue how to run Newark. It is becoming a cesspool of crime as we speak, good job mayor Booker!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    beauinlieuof

    over 3 years ago

    88 Comments

    I think no city should cut costs when it comes to the police departments of any kind whether it is the mounted police on horses or whether it is the canine units. They are the biggest help in tight spots where the police need the help the most. The safety factor is an issue though. When you think of all the constant construction and the amount of people in cars and vehicles today. It is hard for these animals to be safe. I am an animal lover. I can tell you that it sometimes breaks my heart to see an animal hurt whether it is on the job or not. Vet bills on any animal is not cheap whether it is to maintain their health or to survive a wound from being on duty.

  • Battering-ram-full_max50

    OlSkoolBlu89

    over 3 years ago

    2484 Comments

    Sad to see them go, not sure how true it is but I have heard people say its actually more cost effective to maintain a horse then a K9. I am a dog man myself so no offense to the K9 officer's.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    over 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    Newark NJ is a City almost under seige, and Criminals are becoming more audacious. Presently there are More crimes being reported in the Downtown Area of Newark, despite the Cameras. The Mounted Police are usually Working in that Heavily Conjested Area i.e. Broad/Market/Halsey/NJ Penn Station/Major Bus Stops. The State Official that was Carjacked was less than 2 miles of the Downtown area. With that said, I think the Mounted Police would be Safer in a Patrol Unit, and the horses can be Utilized in a Different Venue.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    over 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    @helen23 I Guess you can ask this Car-Jacked State Official:

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_jersey&id=7860278

  • 179509_413913675314782_526027874_n_max50

    helen23

    over 3 years ago

    110 Comments

    I think it sucks that when it comes to cutting the budget it is always the police or the fire departments that get the ax first. Why can't the city or government officials find other ways to cut the budget than cut back on the police departments or the fire departments. I wonder what would happen to these officials because they cut back on either the police or firemen and their homes were broken into or caught on fire? they would be screaming to high heavens because their homes were destroyed, but they won't blame themselves when it was their fault. they are the ones who cut the budgets and no one else. we need to find a way to keep our police and fire departments at top level and not cut them when the budget gets cut.

  • 014_max50

    securetexas

    over 3 years ago

    1038 Comments

    As a Horse owner and an old man who hates to see tradition go by the wayside, I find this wrong in so many ways... How can the suits let tradition as well a very effective Police tool just go away.
    What will be next? The dare program...
    Ok I will get off the soap box

  • Im000112_max50

    inspectorgadget7389

    over 3 years ago

    108 Comments

    Always sad to lose a mounted patrol. Besides being a great PR tool, nobody controls a crowd like mounted officers.

  • Sfa_iv_max50

    revCCBeasley

    over 3 years ago

    2944 Comments

    History being abdoned. I am glad they are finding some homes and others wanting the resources. You just hate to see this happen.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    Sad

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    over 3 years ago

    16726 Comments

    FAIL !

  • Lapd_detective_badge_max50

    DetBruin

    over 3 years ago

    866 Comments

    Hopefully they will return. I feel bad for Mario. 45 years!!! Wow that is longer then I have been alive!!!! Good luck Mario. I would like the author to do an indepth story on him!

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