Bethlehem Mounted Police
The Bethlehem Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit was restored to downtown Bethlehem in 2009 after a 63-year hiatus. The acquisition of Pharaoh, George, Asa, and Grey 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 Friends of the Bethlehem Mounted Police, the Mounted Patrol Unit is boarded at their new stables on Langhorne Avenue. The property is owned by the Diocese and leased, the building itself was funded by the Friends of the Bethlehem Mounted Police through many sponsors. It is not a city owned building. The officers oversee the care of the horses which is performed by Volunteers in Police Service for work at the barn.