RIP 'Officer' Jack Frost

(Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

For almost three years he worked as one of New York's finest, patrolling Times Square, keeping crowds under control and posing for pictures with tourists.

Before that he worked the streets of Philadelphia as a member of the city's mounted unit.

Today those who loved Jack Frost, the larger-than-life police horse, are mourning his passing.

NYPD Lt. Patrick Kelly was Jack's partner until they both retired in 2007. He called me with the news that Jack had succumbed to illness in his mid-20s (nobody's quite sure of his age) on Wednesday at the farm of his original owner in York County, Pennsylvania.

I met Jack and Lt. Kelly in 2005 while reporting a story about the controversial disbanding of the Philadelphia mounted unit and the fate of its equine "officers."

Jack was huge (he measured 18 hands or 6 feet tall) and hugely popular during his years in Philadelphia. He was equally a hit on the Times Square beat taking all the flashing neon and street chaos in stride (even standing rock still for a reporter to sit on his back and take in the view from high above the Great White Way).

"Everyday was a parade with him, an adventure," said Kelly. "He was very smart and giving. If he felt you were going to fall off, he'd go in the other direction to compensate." 

But Jack was all business when it came to keeping protestors in line, as he did during the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Thank you Jack and Lt. Kelly for keeping people safe and bringing them joy and giving this reporter the photo-op of a lifetime.

For the full profile of Jack  from 2005 click here.