From Left: Deputies Jenny Stroud, Khourey Hilliard, Courtlyn Hartfield and Jake Medve; Cpl. Roger Barton; Sheriff Troy E. Nehls; Deputies Chris Arden and Jerome Ellis; Eden Parr, Communications Development Coordinator; Sgt. Kathy Rader; and Lt. Sam Rader
Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol
Sheriff Troy E. Nehls asked Lt. Sam Rader to prepare the curriculum for a Mounted Patrol certification, which Rader did, and 10 participants (the maximum allowed in the class) signed up for the inaugural training.
“We appreciate the efforts Lt. Rader took in putting this class together,” Nehls said. “Judging by the response to the class, we have plenty of interest in a mounted patrol and I believe it will be an asset to the Sheriff’s Office.”
Not only do the riders have to be certified, so do their mounts.
Rader said a Mounted Patrol has several viable uses, the first being crowd control. “A horse’s presence, and they weigh from 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, provides extreme command presence. When you multiply that presence by 10, it’s impressive,” Rader said.
A Mounted Patrol can be utilized for search and rescues.
“The officer is up off the ground by about 8 to 10 feet, so it provides a better viewpoint for searches,” the veteran law officer said. “Horses may move at a slower pace, but the height advantage enables the deputy a superior vantage point compared to people on foot and even four-wheelers.”
Add in items such as parking lot security and a presence at major events to the list, too.
“If you have a big event and you have officers on horseback, the crowd can see that officer….there’s not searching for that person. They are right up there on that tall horse.”
And there’s another side, the “show” side, which includes parades, rodeos and more.
Display is another example.
“You can take the animal in a public display, and we’ve done this at schools and church groups before, and you can explain the role of a mounted patrol. Kids always love seeing animals, and place a deputy on that horse and it becomes even more impressive.”
Participants had one day of class training at the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy followed by four days of riding at the O.D. Tucker Arena at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds.
Two of those days were training the horses to endure noises, obstacles and other issues presented in the training.
On the final day, the class had a 100 percent pass rate and four riders, including Rader, had two horses certified in the course.
Rader said he’s got six people on a waiting list for a second class.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but this is the first opportunity for it to take place,” Rader said. “We have Sheriff Nehls to thank for that.”