The Chatter

Baltimore Police Mounted Unit to Add Horses and State-of-the-Art Stable

City officials broke ground on $2.5 million stable at B&O Railroad Museum.

Nate Harold | September 18, 2018, 4:27 pm

-Nate Harold
The Chatter

Baltimore Police Mounted Unit to Add Horses and State-of-the-Art Stable

City officials broke ground on $2.5 million stable at B&O Railroad Museum.

Nate Harold | September 18, 2018, 4:27 pm

-Nate Harold

After being sheltered in a former car dealership underneath the Jones Falls Expressway for more than 40 years, the Baltimore Police Department's mounted unit of horses was introduced to its future home Tuesday morning.

Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and officials from the B&O Railroad Museum joined to break ground on the First Mile Stable, a modern equestrian facility which will house the mounted unit’s draft horses.

“We should be glad that we are preserving this unit and, more importantly, that we are making a home that will be lasting and one that we all can be proud of,” Pugh said.

The Baltimore Police mounted unit was founded in 1888 and is the oldest continuously operated mounted unit in the U.S.

“[This is] more than just about building a stable for horses,” Interim Baltimore City Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said. “This is continuing a legacy.”

First Mile Stable, which will be accessible via a short train ride from the B&O Railroad Museum, will sit on a 2.4-acre plot of museum property. Museum board chairman Francis Smyth said project construction will begin within the month and is expected to be completed in approximately nine months. The stable is slated to open in spring or summer 2019.

The facility will represent a significant upgrade to the previous living arrangements for the mounted unit’s horses. It will include 12 double stalls (which are twice the width of a normal horse stall) and an outdoor paddock for grazing and exercise, an amenity the current location lacks.

“These horses are exceedingly well cared for,” said Kris Hoellen, the executive director of the B&O Railroad Museum. “But, obviously, they are going to have an even better quality of life when they are looking up at the skies rather than the underside of a bridge.”

The stable will also include an educational community center for tourists and inner-city school groups to interact with the officers and horses and learn about the mounted unit’s history and role in public safety.

“The mounted unit plays the same role it did since its founding with patrol as its first priority,” said Sgt. Russell “Russ” Robar, the commander of the mounted unit.

During an August 2017 press conference, Pugh, along with other city officials, announced plans to fundraise for and build First Mile Stable.

The First Mile Stable Charitable Foundation, which was established for the purpose of designing, constructing, and maintaining the new stable for the mounted unit, has already raised more than $1 million of the $2.5 million project goal. The foundation also launched a public fundraising campaign today to continue to support the newest stable.

Additionally, Smyth announced that the museum and First Mile Stable Charitable Foundation together will provide the mounted unit with two additional horses.

The mounted unit currently consists of six horses, although Robar noted the unit has authorization for funding up to 10. He said the mounted unit’s horses allow the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) to survey areas in the city that aren’t always accessible by car, such as tight alleys and fire escapes, and are effective at assisting officers on the ground for occasional crowd control purposes.

“The horses are the most important part of the unit,” Robar said. “They can handle what is asked of them and still be able to focus, listen, and remain calm.”

However, the horses also serve to improve the chances of civilians interacting with patrol officers.

“We look at ourselves as ambassadors for the city and what the BPD is about,” Robar said. “[The horses] help us to engage the community while on patrol. People are more likely to approach a horse than a patrol officer in a car.”

Robar said the stable’s location will promote a “continued and unique interaction” between officers and the Southwest Baltimore community.

“Most local jurisdictions don’t have horses and kids in the city don’t see horses on a regular basis,” Robar said. “The horses break down barriers to help reach kids and the community better. Anyone who has served in this unit knows how special our role is.”

Pugh and the BPD in the past have emphasized creating more opportunities for the city’s youth to engage with its officers.

“For many of these children, [field trips to the First Mile Stable] will be their first interaction with police officers, and it will be a positive one,” Smyth said. “We feel that this is a game changer.”





You May Also Like


The Chatter

Local Health Leaders React to Restrictive Abortion Laws

With a woman’s right to choose protected in Maryland, women’s rights advocates and citizens are reaffirming their support.

The Chatter

Catherine Pugh’s Lawyer Expected to Announce Mayor’s Resignation This Afternoon

Baltimore’s scandal-plagued mayor has been on paid sick leave since April 1.

The Chatter

Baltimore Streetcar Museum Rebuilds After CSX Train Derailment

The cleanup continues from an ironic and heartbreaking accident.


The Chatter

Gino Marchetti Was Feared on the Gridiron and Beloved in Baltimore

The legendary Colts defensive end is remembered fondly by those in the Italian community.

The Chatter

NDMU Professor Reflects on Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

Dr. Anne Henderson discusses the cathedral’s historical and religious significance.

The Chatter

Local Politicians React to Mayor Pugh’s Leave Announcement Amidst Scandal

City council members Zeke Cohen and Ryan Dorsey have called for Pugh’s resignation.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Baltimore Magazine Wins Three CRMA Awards: Publication takes home honors for editorial, design, and digital at the annual industry awards.

CookHouse to Replace B. Bistro and Bring European Fare to Bolton Hill: The new spot will debut this fall, offering an all-day menu, full bar, and takeout service.

Arts Community Reflects on What The Windup Space Has Meant to Baltimore: Inclusive arts venue in Station North will close its doors on June 1.

Micah E. Wood Embraces His Emotions: The local singer-songwriter focuses on self-love in his new self-titled album.

City Officials Express Concern Over Elon Musk’s Baltimore to D.C. Transit Plan: Before exploring intra-city transportation options, local leaders hope to address issues at home.