The New York Times reports today on the downsizing of police squad horse teams in what it chalks up as yet another casualty of the recession. While valuable in terms of crowd control--the Times reports that an officer on horseback may be as effective as "7 to 10 officers on foot"--the time and cost involved in maintaining mounted units have proved to be too much for many departments. Charleston, Camden, San Diego, Tulsa, and Boston have all eliminated their units. For those pining for the good old days, we suggest a trip to Canada or New York City, with it's relatively large horse-force of 79 officers and 60 horses as well as a wide-variety of human and animal-drawn vehicles. Or try Cuba, with its staggering array of horse-based transport, as well as other options seemingly left for dead by the rest of the world: the Soviet bus, for example, or the regal 50s car.
But, back to the topic at hand: what will all the formerly mounted officers of America use to get around? The speedy but unwieldy automobile? Will they opt for the really old-school, and have more units on foot? Or will they go Venice-beach on everyone, and have a bunch of cops riding bicycles in tight shorts? The Times reports that in addition to bikes, the Charleston police department has been using "futuristic" electric scooters called T3s, which apparently look like a "cross between a Roman chariot and a Segway." We're still holding out for the day when police departments employ a machine that looks like a cross between a horse and a motorcycle.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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