Police horse named after fallen officer retires

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EAST MEADOW -

Officials have announced the retirement of a Nassau police horse named after a fallen officer.

The department named Mike, the horse, after Officer Michael J. Califano, who died in the line of duty in 2011.

"This horse is named after one of ours that paid the ultimate sacrifice," said Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "We must always remember those, and their family."

Mike the horse spent his career assigned to details including presidential debates and events at the Nassau Coliseum.

"I might be a bit biased, but I think he's the best horse in the barn," said Officer Pat Pierson, a member of the Nassau Police Department's Mounted Unit who rode Mike for four years. "No matter what the situation — whether it was training, ceremonial or tactical, you could count on him to get the job done."

Ryder said the horse received the same sendoff of any other retiring Nassau police member.

"He's gonna be missed," said Jackie Califano, Officer Califano's widow. "We do a fundraiser every year, and he comes. It just means a lot that my husband was remembered in this way."

Lt. Susan Ralph, a retired Southampton police officer who has spent 40 years riding horses, is adopting Mike. He will join her other horses at a barn in Smithtown.

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