Posted April 5, 2012

Police officers pony up at Temple Bell Tower

Temple students, faculty and staff who walked through campus around lunchtime on Wednesday, April 4, can now check horses off their list of unusual things spotted by the Bell Tower.

In an effort to raise awareness and drum up support for the newly reinstated Mounted Patrol Unit, Philadelphia Police officers and horses came to campus to meet the Temple community. The Philadelphia Police Department partnered with Temple’s student organizations to show pride and support for the Mounted Unit, as well as to display the contributions Temple student organizations make to the Philadelphia community.

Trisha Swed, Diamond Leader in the Office of Student Leadership Development, was thrilled that members of the Temple community — many of whom were interacting with a horse for the first time — got to meet and greet the horses.

“They have flocked to these horses,” she said. "They loved getting to pet the horses and feeding them apples and carrots as well as talking with the officers. It’s been such a great experience so far and the Temple community has responded extremely positively.”

The Philadelphia Police Foundation has been raising funds for the unit through an ongoing program called “Pony Up for the Mounted Unit.” With a fundraising goal of $3 million, the foundation has plans to use funds to build stables for the horses, fund operational headquarters for the officers and purchase materials needed to keep the horses in first-class condition. So far, the foundation has been appealing to businesses, corporations, foundations and the general public to support the program.

Disbanded in 2004 due to budgetary constraints, the Philadelphia Police Department's Mounted Unit is currently in the process of rebuilding itself from what was once an organization with 190 horses. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said the return of the Mounted Unit is a key part of the Philadelphia Police Department’s ability to fight crime, provide security at large gatherings and make areas in Fairmount Park and along the Center City shopping corridors safer.