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The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office has established the first Mounted Patrol Unit as a commitment to improve public safety and community policing. This program started in early 2015 with an effort to seek funding for housing, equipment and training costs which was successful. We received $25,000 from the Laura Jane Musser Fund and $66,000 from the Colorado Justice Assistance Grant.
Horses for the Mounted Patrol Unit were donated by the Bureau of Land Management through the Wild Horse and Burro Program holding and training facility located at the Centennial Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colorado. The horses were selected from many horses that met the Sheriff’s requirements.
The horses successfully completed a 120-day training program provided by a certified Mounted Patrol trainer. The horses and deputies have continued their trainings and completed a 2-week Colorado Peace Officer Standard and Training (P.O.S.T) program, certifying them for Mounted Patrol. The deputies learned everything from anatomy, first aid, equine care, routine patrolling and crowd control procedures. They continue these trainings as part of their duties. The deputies tend to their horses daily, grooming, feeding and working with them. The deputies and their horses completed an Equine Scent Training Clinic in August 2017 where the horses learned to pick of the scent of hidden volunteers and had to successfully find them.
The Mounted Patrol Unit horses are housed on land already owned by the agency just to the West of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office in Cortez, Colorado, with approval of the City of Cortez. The stables, hay shed, training arena, round pen and dry lot were all paid for through grant funded dollars. The Sheriff’s Office also has a temporary holding and stable area located in Dolores, Colorado provided by the Town of Dolores, which will be used to house the horses when the deputies are working there.
The Mounted Patrol Unit will be used for a variety of regular patrols, special events and programs throughout Montezuma County. Some of these include the Four Corners Ag Expo, Home and Garden Show, Montezuma County Fair, Ute Mountain Rodeo, Dolores River Fest, and Escalante Days where providing public safety and crime prevention are needed. The Mounted Patrol will provide uniformed patrols wherever needed in the community, for crime scenes or search and rescue operations. They visit local schools to provide educational opportunities to our local youth and we will hold educational events at the Sheriff’s Office for the community as well.
A Mounted Patrol is invaluable in crowd situations as the deputy can see more of what’s going on and can navigate through a crowd. One mounted patrol deputy and his horse have been compared to the effectiveness of 10 to 12 deputies on the ground in crowd situations. Due to their increased height, mounted deputies are able to survey large areas quickly and address problem situations effectively. They are a crime deterrent due to their increased visibility to the public, and are able to traverse all types of terrain that would be difficult for deputies in vehicles or on foot. Mounted Patrol Units are a valuable tool for community policing and fostering positive public relationships with law enforcement. The deputy on their horse is very approachable by the public, more so than deputies in their vehicles.
We welcome everyone to visit our equine facility. If you would like to schedule a visit or schedule the Mounted Patrol Unit for an event or program, contact us at (970) 565-8452.
If you would like to make a donation, send it to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, 730 East Driscoll Street, Cortez, CO 81321. Visit our website at www.montezumasheriff.org for information on upcoming events the Mounted Patrol Unit will be attending.
Sergeant Edward Oxley’s partner is Charley. Charley, a Mustang gelding, was captured on November 27, 2012 from Murderers Creek near the town of Dayville, Grant County, Oregon. He was donated by the Bureau of Land Management through the Wild Horse and Burro Program to be a member of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Unit. He is now 6 years old and developing into a fine Mounted Patrol Horse. They have completed the 2-week Colorado Peace Officer Standard and Training (P.O.S.T.) program, certifying them both. Sergeant Oxley continually works on different training programs with Charley to enhance their abilities and develop their skills.
Deputy Donnie Brown’s partner is Rebel. Rebel is a Mustang gelding that was captured on December 15, 2015 from near the town of Marsing at the Sands Basin, Owyhee County, Idaho. He was donated by the Bureau of Land Management through the Wild Horse and Burro Program to be a member of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Unit. Rebel is now 5 years old. Rebel and Deputy Donnie Brown have completed the 2-week Colorado Peace Officer Standard and Training (P.O.S.T.) program, certifying them both. Deputy Brown continually works on different training programs with Charley to enhance their abilities and develop their skills.
Detective Yvonne McClellan’s partner is Cody. Cody is a Mustang gelding that was born in captivity near the town of Rock Springs at the Divide Basin, Sweetwater County, Wyoming. He was donated by the Bureau of Land Management through the Wild Horse and Burro Program to be a member of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Unit. Cody is now 6 years old. Cody and Detective Yvonne McClellan continue their trainings and have completed the 2 week Colorado Peace Officer Standard and Training (P.O.S.T) program, certifying them both. She continually works on different training programs with Cody to enhance their abilities and develop their skills.
Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Unit Reserve Deputy and Certified Training Instructor Ted Holland and “Comanche”
Ted Holland is a certified training instructor and has been a Mounted Patrol Deputy for over 40 years. Comanche is a 23 year old Morgan gelding. Comanche has been Deputy Ted Holland’s Mounted Horse Patrol partner for many years. Comanche is the lead horse in all Mounted Patrol instruction and training with the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol and with many other patrol units.
Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office
Mounted Patrol Unit Reserve Deputy and Certified Training Instructor Ted Holland and “Comanche”
INSIDE THE HEART OF A MOUNTED PATROL DEPUTY – LIFE EXPERIENCES
I am excited to be involved in the creation and implementation of a new mounted patrol unit for the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office. I have been involved in various mounted police units for the last 40 years. Within that time, I have seen how valuable a mounted unit was for each department. Each mounted unit proved that their particular abilities greatly enhanced their prospective department’s goals and objectives.
A mounted unit brings many new avenues of police protection and patrol. There are three main aspects of a mounted unit, which anyone can readily see. The first being high visibility. An officer on horseback is 10′ tall. High visibility is one great tool used in crime prevention. The public and the criminals can see and hear the “clip pity clop” cop coming down the street. The second aspect unique to the horse unit is its high mobility. Horses can go almost anywhere and are not limited to paved roads. Finally, and probably, the unique aspect is public relations. As the saying goes between mounted officers –“I have never had anyone ask to pet my police car, but everyone wants to pet my police horse.”
Besides these three major aspects, there are other important points to consider. A police car is good for 5-7 years. A police horse can be used for 20 years plus. Once taught a skill, horses do not forget. In fact, they only get better at the task asked of them. Horse are cheaper to operate than a car. Compare a $4.00 bale of hay to a $4.00 gallon of gas. The hay bale will last a horse for 3 days and the gallon of gas will last only a few miles down the road.
If it were not for my years of service as a mounted officer, I doubt very much I would have lasted 40 years as an officer. So why do mounted police officers readily volunteer for the opportunity to join a mounted unit. Mounted officers go through a rigorous training school. Once assigned to the unit the officer spends long hours in the saddle. You are wet when it rains and you are cold when the wind blows. Your motorized counterpart is cool in his air-conditioned vehicle while sweat runs down your neck from your riding helmet. They get to listen to the ballgame on the car radio. You get to hear traffic tires squealing on the city streets.
So why do it? I will give you four examples of some experiences, which I have had during my years on top of a horse. I was leading a 4th of July parade in a St. Louis metro Municipality. I was proudly carrying our country’s flag. A large number of people were crowded along the sidewalk. As I road by one group of people I heard a man shout out, “here comes our mounted officer on one of our horses.” Wow, a citizen actually said that he considers the horse and me as being one of his (ours). That is community policing at its best.
Another time, in that same metro municipality, I patrolled a large housing project. To say it was a slum is saying it mildly. Every day for almost a week, a little boy would run up to me and my horse, Comanche and he would stand around for a long time and talk, and talk, and talk. He was around five or six years old and he was always wearing the same tattered clothes each day. At the end of the week, the boy’s mother met me on the street in front of their one room studio apartment. The mother told me her son has always had trouble talking. However, after talking to “Ole” Comanche and I the little boy could not keep quiet when telling his mom about feeding grass to Comanche. His mom told me he was the happiest when he has to feed and pet Comanche. I like to think that Comanche and I made a small difference in that little boy’s life. That little boy10 years later, was killed in a gang related incident.
Just last year in Mountain Village, Colorado, I was patrolling on horseback in the town’s ski area. A middle-aged woman walked up to me with tears in her eyes. She told me she really appreciated my horse. She said she lost her husband a few months ago to cancer and she was having a difficult time coping with his death. The woman said she started visiting Comanche’s police stable in the morning hours. Every day she would talk to Comanche, pet him, and sometimes hug his neck. She told me that Comanche would help her get through the day. The next day I came in early to get Comanche out of his stall for evening patrol and I saw that woman sitting on the ground next to Comanche. He had his head hanging through the fence nosing the woman’s hand. I stayed in my vehicle and drove away. I did not want to take Comanche away from his new friend.
The last story involves an older woman who lived in the same run down housing project. This older woman would stop me almost every day when I rode by her HUD housing unit. She would bring out cut up pieces of apples and feed them to Comanche. At the end of the summer, the Chief of Police advised me that he and the Director of Public Safety had received a check for $100 from a little old woman. There was a note with the check, which said how much she appreciated the mounted officer who rides by her home. She said it made her feel safe. During some of our earlier conversations, the older woman would tell me how hard it was for her to come up with the money to pay her rent.
These four stories are the real reason why I love being a mounted officer. I have other stories, which involve horse pursuits ending in an arrest, or the numerous times Comanche and I have been involved in bar fights at closing time. However, I must admit that the most satisfying memories are the ones, which involve the citizens and their positive comments about that “clip pity clop” cop on horseback.
I hope that in the near future the Sheriff’s Office in Montezuma County can also experience the fulfillment that comes when you are a mounted patrol officer.
Reserve Deputy Mounted Horse Patrol and Certified Instructor with the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office
Air Scent Detection is a natural instinct of horses where they either detect scent indicated by sign language or with training they can detect and follow the airborne scent to its source. The act of scenting is actually used naturally as a form of communication between horses in a herd. This unique characteristic of the horse cam be used for search and rescue, Law enforcement and as a natural horsemanship game.
The horses for the Mounted Patrol Unit were donated by the Bureau of Land Management through the Wild Horse and Burro Program holding and training facility located at the Centennial Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colorado. The horses needed forever names. Before the end of the school year in 2017 the local elementary schools were invited to enter a contest and name the new Mounted Patrol horses. Over 1500 local Montezuma County’s elementary school students entered the names they picked for the Mustangs. In the fall of the 2017 school year, the winners were chosen and the Mounted Horse Patrol Unit visited the winners to have their pictures taken with the horses they named.
Jeremiah Baker from Kemper Elementary School picked out Cody’s name. Jeremiah is pictured with Detective Yvonne McClellen and Cody.
Kemper School 3rd grade class gather together to see the winner of the contest at their school.
Kaitlynn Bane from Mancos Elementary School picked out Cody’s name. Kaitlynn is pictured with Detective Yvonne McClellen and Cody.
Kiki Ford from Mancos Elementary School picked out Rebel’s name. Kiki is pictured with Deputy Donnie Brown and Rebel.
Mancos Elementary School at the Horse Naming Contest cheering on the winners of the contest.
Nathan Hackett, Jake Nelson and Terriah Lansing from Mesa Elementary School picked out Charley’s name. They are pictured with Sergeant Edward Oxley and Charley.
Mesa Elementary School at the Horse Naming Contest excited to see their classmates that won the contest.
No words are needed for this picture
Horses can bring joy to any age
The horses like this as much as the people do
Touching a horse is good for the soul
Rebel has Deputy Brown’s back
Angels on four hooves……
This event was enjoyed by everyone!
The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Unit was invited to attend the “Girls on the Run” relay race at the Dolores School. Deputy Donnie Brown and Rebel helped cheer on the race.
Deputy Donnie Brown and Rebel at the Dolores Elementary School
Rebel says “Lets race”, I will let YOU win
Rebel showing the girls how to RACE!
Rebel says “Snack Time”!
Click pictures to view more details.