Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey tried to broker a deal outside the Roundhouse on Thursday morning. He pointed to his police SUV, aka “Car 1,” and motioned to the monster truck looming behind him, offering Black Stallion’s driver a trade.
“That’s the new ‘Car 1,’” Ramsey said of the gargantuan prop used to draw attention to the fact that Feld Motor Sports pledged a portion of proceeds from discounted “Horsepower for Horses” tickets for the June 4 “Monster Jam” event at Lincoln Financial Field to support the police mounted patrol unit’s return.
Asked if he thinks he could drive the five-ton vehicle, he responded, “I’d sure try. It’d be hard to sneak up on somebody in this, though.”
The mounted patrol unit dates back to 1889. It was disbanded in 2004 due to budgetary constraints. The department has sought, and received, private and public funds to restore it so officers on horseback can patrol parks and neighborhoods and provide crowd control at events. Ramsey estimated it costs $2.5 million to build new stables with an annual expense of up to $500,000.
Five horses, named for officers who died in the line of duty since 2008, began training this month. The department hopes to have up to 12 horses in rotation by year’s end.
“It’s very fitting that ‘Black Stallion’ is here today,” said Philadelphia Police Foundation Vice President Maureen Rush, who is head of the University of Pennsylvania public safety. “We’re not going to have a black stallion, but we’re going to have a lot of great horses.”