|Bates County Sheriff Chad Anderson and Peaches|
The Bates County Sheriff’s Posse is taking an old school approach that appears to be quite effective in our modern world by organizing a mounted wing of the Posse. Such programs are quite prevalent all around the United States and are growing in popularity for many reasons, such as when doing search and rescue, riding a horse provides extra height for a larger viewing area; and is quiet compared to using 4 wheelers. “There are a lot of benefits to using horses” said Sheriff Chad Anderson during a recent meeting for new members “the biggest being they often can go where motorized vehicles cannot. And it’s faster than walking.”
The timing of this program actually couldn’t be better. “Everything's just falling into place to make it work. The Adrian Optimist Club has been very helpful in offering up Ferguson Arena for practice and training. And the number of those interested in joining is higher than we previously thought” he added.
During the informational meeting held August 12th at the arena, both Anderson and Bates County Coroner Greg Mullinax, who is also a horse enthusiast and is working to spearhead the program, briefed the crowd about how it will all come together. According to Mullinax, while joining the Mounted Posse will be quite rewarding, there will be work involved and possibly not everyone may make the cut “To qualify, riders need to show horsemanship and have training. And we’ll have to qualify the horses as well. Like do they respond well to basic commands, and how well they behave outside their normal environment”. He went on to say members will also be required to participate in a minimum number of events to stay active in the organization.
The Mounted Posse program will include mounted patrol for officers as well, as interest has spilled over to include deputies, which will insure there will be an officer nearby as needed in certain circumstances. As the discussion ensued, it was made clear that more specialized tasks likely will develop as the mounted posse membership grows with new members and ideas brought into the mix.
Beside the practical reasons for having a mounted posse, there will be the fun stuff, too. Both Anderson and Mullinax mentioned the social side of things, such as representing the organization during community events such as parades, fairs, ceremonies, etc. Sheriff Anderson pointed out that the social element is equally important, as being in public with the horses will certainly enhance community relations overall.
While the program is in its infancy, things are moving pretty fast. For those interested in joining, there will be some basic criteria that must be met: 1. Members must pass a criminal and character check; 2 Own all necessary equine equipment such as tack and supplies; 3. Be able to transport themselves and their equine(s) to Posse events; 4. Possess and demonstrate reasonable horsemanship to ensure safety of themselves, their mounts and others around them.
To boot (no pun intended) there will be an official look for the Mounted Posse, as horses will be outfitted with matching tack, saddle blankets and possibly breast collars. Riders will be provided a uniform and badge. It was also mentioned that there is a place for those who love horses but don’t have one- there will be plenty of support roles available.
Sheriff Anderson pointed out the program is funded via the regular budget and donations. “Our budget comes from housing outside inmates” he went on to say “I believe in this program and if it helps find one child or an elderly person who has wandered off then it’s worth every dime. This program is one more tool in our belt to help us do everything we can in serving our citizens. This program in other communities helps with community policing and bridges gaps between the community and its law enforcement”.
Anyone who would like more information visit the Bates County Sheriff’s Posse Facebook page or call 660-679-3232.