The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Unit provides a highly visible presence and is very well received by the public. The unit was created in 2002, as a volunteer unit with two Sworn Deputies using their personally owned horses. Today the unit has 2 horses, transferred from the Marana Police Department in early 2009, 14 Sworn Mounted Deputies and 22 Volunteers. The Unit is overseen by Lieutenant Tamatha Villar, Sergeant Stormee Wallace and PCSO Posse and Mounted Training Coordinator/Instructor Chuck Higgins.
The Mounted Patrol is a valuable asset to the department and community for many reasons. The expertise of a mounted unit officer in crowd control is renowned. It has been estimated that one mounted officer on horseback has the effect of ten officers on foot.
A mounted deputy can be seen for blocks, presenting a greater crime deterrent. Being on horseback enables the mounted deputy an opportunity to see greater distances as well as over fences and other tall barriers. Mounted officers are also able to ride on horseback into areas where a squad car cannot go, a horse is the ultimate ATV.
There are current plans for future mounted training in search and rescue. A mounted officer can carry ample supplies and remain searching, often, for longer periods of time that those on foot.
Horses also have the ability to help dissolve barriers and increase personal contact between the public and deputies. Seldom is public attention so magnetically drawn to police as it is to an officer on horseback.
The PCSO Mounted unit currently assists with:
- Neighborhood/street patrol
- Crowd control after bar closings
- Planned and unplanned civil disturbances
- Various community events
- National Night Out
- Special park and neighborhood events
For additional information, please e-mail Sgt. Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.