The Philadelphia Police Department's mounted unit, disbanded in 2006 for budgetary reasons, could return next year if the department collects enough donations, officials said Thursday.

In announcing efforts to bring back the mounted police, officials said the unit had been effective in controlling large crowds and patrolling parks. The department must raise about $2 million to fund the program, they said. State Sen. Larry Farnese (D., Phila.) announced a $100,000 state grant for the campaign Thursday, and Comcast, 7-Eleven, and Verizon Wireless have donated a combined $50,000.

Officials hope to have a unit of 10 to 12 horses. Police also said the horses improved community relations. "I've seen officers and horses make a tremendous difference together in patrolling neighborhoods and connecting to people," Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said. To learn more about the program, visit www.phillypolicefoundation.org - Allison Steele