Established in 1996, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit consists of two full-time and several auxiliary members. Wearing many hats, the Mounted Unit may be deployed to support any component of the Sheriff’s Office. Assigned to the Community Impact Section as a community oriented and problem-solving team, the Mounted Unit focus is primarily in rural areas where normal patrol techniques are combined with the abilities and advantages of an equine partner. Routinely patrolling unincorporated El Paso County, a mounted deputy can see better and cover terrain where a patrol car cannot go. Trained and desensitized horses are a tremendous law enforcement tool in many settings. The Mounted Unit also works collaboratively with other agencies assisting with homeless outreach, fugitive and evidence searches, crowd control, and search and rescue operations.
In addition to their primary duties, the two full-time Mounted Unit deputies are specially trained to investigate equine abuse and neglect cases. When a criminal abuse case is discovered by patrol deputies and often referred to the Mounted Unit or Rural Enforcement & Outreach Unit, we follow specific guidelines to ensure a proper outcome. Working closely with the District Attorney’s Office, veterinarians, the Colorado Brand Board and other resources, these situations are taken very seriously and abuse suspects are charged accordingly. If additional assistance is required due to the extent of the situation, the Investigations Division may be called upon to assist or further the investigation. Often times we find that neglect is more of lack of knowledge than criminal intent. In these situations, the Mounted Unit may help mitigate or educate inexperienced owners to ensure proper care for their equine partners.
The Mounted Unit is widely appreciated and often applauded by the public. We frequently participate in and provide assistance during a variety of annual community events such as the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, the El Paso County Fair and the Air Force Academy Graduation. Additionally, mounted law enforcement brings a special level of decorum to special events such as the annual Pikes Peak Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. When you see the Mounted Unit, you are encouraged to speak to the deputies and meet the horses. Mounted Unit members are always eager to meet members of the community and show off their mounts. We are confident you will enjoy the interaction.