NYPD officers with two and four legs alike are part of the New York City Police Foundation’s 2023 Canine & Friends calendar.
The proceeds from the calendar are used to help fund vital police entities, such as the NYPD Mounted Unit. Horses are among the humans and canines featured in the calendar.
“The New York City Police Foundation is just honored to be able to support New York’s finest and New York’s furriest,” Executive Director of New York City Police Foundation Gregg Roberts said. “We do the calendar every year. It’s a wonderful thing to not only celebrate these wonderful animals that do so much for the city, but we also get to raise money through the calendar to support the programs.”
The New York City Police Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization that has been in operation for half a century and raises money to help the largest police department in the United States advance programs that prevent violent crime, pilot new technologies, and more.
The Foundation holds a special place in its heart for the horses of the Mounted Unit, as they helped ensure that the division continued to be deployed in the 1970s when budgets were being slashed.
“One of our first programs back in the 1970s was the Mounted Unit. The city was going through financial problems, they were gonna get rid of the unit,” Roberts explained. “We got every horse for the Mounted Unit for 20 years.”
The Mounted Unit themselves are thankful to the Police Foundation for stepping in and safeguarding the horses. Each horse has their very own police badge just like any human officer and according to the commanding officer of the NYPD Mounted Unit, Inspector Barry Gelbman, the equine has a vital role in the NYPD.
“When you see a police officer on a horse, it humanizes the officer and it also brings the chance for a conversation with a person from the public,” Inspector Gelbman told amNewYork Metro. “You see police officers that are out on patrol every day. And our visibility makes us very approachable to the public.”
The calendar doesn’t just exhibit horses; however, it also shows a variety of different canines, including bomb detectors and therapy dogs. While the Transit Bureau Canine Unit patrols the subway system, the pups of the NYPD EAU unit work to relieve stress and mental hardships from officers and their families.
“We’ve been together five years, she’s amazing,” Detective Kaitlin Shamberger said of her four-legged partner K9 Zada who both appear in the calendar together. “Anything that Zada and I can do to help spread good things and have good things for this department is definitely something that we are always aiming for.”
On Dec. 8, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell greeted the units in Times Square where she thanked both the horses and canines for their service as crowds flocked to meet them and take selfies with the department’s top paws and hooves. The calendar can be purchased here.