THE NEW YORK CITY PARKS ENFORCEMENT MOUNTED AUXILIARY POLICE
The New York City Parks Mounted Auxiliary Unit, Inc. was founded in 1996 by a group of New Yorkers who met up for daily horseback rides on the Central Park bridle paths. They hoped to contribute to the park’s safety by observing and reporting any signs of trouble they encountered on their morning rides.
Since then, the Auxiliary has grown from those few volunteers into a unit of about 50 members who patrol parks in all five boroughs. These private citizens volunteer their time to serve the community by working with the New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP). Auxiliary Officers patrolling on horseback act as “eyes and ears” for the peace officers of the six-horse PEP Mounted Unit. Auxiliary Officers help protect the natural beauty of the parks—and keep them safe for New Yorkers and visitors alike—by maintaining a clearly visible mounted presence.
On horseback we patrol areas where vehicles cannot go, such as Central Park’s North Woods and Van Cortlandt Park’s John Muir Nature Trail, to protect the delicate ecology of these precious natural places. Equipped with radios, we can summon EMS, PEP, FDNY, or NYPD assistance when needed. Auxiliary Officers help with crowd control at concerts and parades, assist injured cyclists, and reunite lost children with their parents. We answer questions, give directions, and advise patrons of Parks rules and regulations, helping everyone enjoy our city’s vital greenspaces.
By our very presence, Mounted Auxiliary Officers act as Parks ambassadors. The big, handsome horses we ride (most are draft breeds, such as Percherons and Clydesdales) attract adults and children alike, and as we chat with tourists we’re showing them that New York City welcomes the world. City children, timid at first, come closer to pat the horses and exclaim over their enormous hooves; at the same time, they’re learning that those who uphold the law are accessible and friendly.
Richard Feldman, a founding member of the Unit, was unfailingly enthusiastic about the Parks Mounted Auxiliary. “I think this is one of the greatest things to happen in the New York City parks,” he said. “It’s a service undertaken by residents of the city on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.” He felt that just seeing the horses in the park was “enough to make an awful lot of people think twice about doing anything illegal, harmful, or dangerous in the parks. And, of course, the Mounted Auxiliary also offers assistance to park patrons when it’s needed.”
Funding for the Mounted Auxiliary Unit comes from member dues and charitable donations made by individuals, foundations, and corporations. Our contributions are used to support the health and well-being of the Mounted Unit’s horses, provide training for the Auxiliary, and supplement the budget of the Mounted Unit as needed, especially for purchasing horses and equipment. We also made a substantial contribution to building stables in Central Park. Read more here.
The New York City Parks Mounted Auxiliary Unit, Inc. is a volunteeer program and a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization, and contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. We welcome contributions. Please join us in helping to keep New York City’s Parks safe, clean and green!
Thank you, and we’ll see you in the parks!