Effort Mounted for Horse Patrol
Fund-raising Pub Crawl set for June 6
By Patrick Cronin
Seacost Sunday, May 16, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of the Secoast Sunday and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Several restaurants will host a pub crawl June 6 to try to raise money to prevent the Hampton Police Department's Mounted Patrol Unit from going out to pasture.
Albert Fleury, owner of Wally's Pub, said businesses at Hampton Beach are committed to doing their part in trying to keep the nearly 30-year tradition of having officers on horseback in the summer intact.
"I love the tradition of it," Fleury said. "I remember coming up here when I was little and enjoying seeing the horses at the beach. It would be sad to see that go away."
Participating pubs include the Purple Urchin Restaurant, Boardwalk Inn & Cafe, Millie's Tavern, McGuirks and Wally's Pub. "We have different games, raffles and quirky events," Fleury said. "All the money will go to the Mounted Patrol."
Fleury said the restaurants got involved to aid Todd Loiseau, of Kennedy & Loiseau Real Estate, who started a fund-raising campaign to keep the unit.
The unit was eliminated in March due to budget cuts faced by the police department. Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said disbanding the unit was one of the toughest decisions he has had to make, but it was a choice between "horseshoes in the street or boots on the street."
The unit was established in 1981 by former Hampton Deputy. Chief Dennis Pelletier as a way to respond to crowd control issues that had plagued Hampton Beach, including the infamous riots of 1964.
"I think it's great that they want to do this," Sullivan said. "Throughout the history of the Mounted Patrol, the local business community has been very generous. We wish them the best of luck in their efforts• to help us maintain it."
The businesses already have the backing of the Board of Selectmen, who agreed to hold off putting the two horses in the unit up for adoption to see if they can raise the $18,000 needed. The money will go toward paying the nearly $1,400 per month needed to maintain the horses long enough to give voters a chance to save the unit at the 2011 Town Meeting.
Loiseau said they have already received several donations and they hope the upcoming pub crawl will put them over the top.
"We don't want to see the unit come to an end," Loiseau said. "And by the reaction we have been hearing, neither does the public. There is not a doubt in my mind that we won't be able to raise the money needed,"
The Purple Urchin will begin festivities with brunch at 11 a.m. Fleury said he intends to have a mechanical bull at his place as well as music from the Old Dirty Bastards.
Friends of the Mounted Patrol was formed in 1985 to raise funds for items needed by the unit not covered in the town budget. To donate, make checks payable to "Friends of the Hampton Mounted Patrol" and mail to Kennedy & Loiseau, 333 Ocean Blvd.; Hampton, NH 03842.