History of The Mounted Posse
Since the inception of the Sheriff’s Office, horses were an integral part of our operations for most of our history. Upon his appointment, first Sheriff Edward W. Wynkoop rode a horse from Lecompton, Kansas to the campsite that is now Denver in the fall of 1858. Prior to the widespread use of automobiles, horses and horse drawn vehicles were the exclusive transportation for the Sheriff and Deputies.
The first automobile purchased for the Sheriff’s Office was a 1911 Buick. Horses continued to be used in the early years of the 20th century alongside those early cars. As cars became the primary form of transportation and many paved roads began to cross the plains in the 1930s, the Sheriff’s Office still maintained horses or access to horses through volunteers who could be called up as needed for searches and transportation over rural terrain. During the great floods of 1965, the towns of Byers and Deer Trail were completely cut off when the train trestles and highway bridges were washed away. These towns were supplied with food and medical services by horse mounted volunteers, led the Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse.
The Sheriff’s Office maintained a Mounted Posse of reserve deputies through the early 1980s. The reasons it went away are complicated, more of a lack of prioritization then an active decision to disband it. As Arapahoe County became more suburban and less rural, older and long serving members gradually aged out and left and few new members were coming aboard.
Several proposals to bring back a mounted unit of some kind were proposed over the years. These were met with neutral responses rather than strong opposition – a mounted unit was just not a priority with so many other priorities modern law enforcement agencies have to deal with.
In 2019, under the new administration of Sheriff Tyler Brown, Undersheriff Mark Nicastle took the lead in re-establishing a Mounted Unit at the Sheriff’s Office. Since then, the concept has been worked out, policies changed, insurance obtained, the equipment purchased and training conducted for initial members. In 2020, the program was expanded to include citizen volunteers. As they have done historically, the Mounted Unit will be available for public events, patrolling trails and paths that are now common across the suburban terrain, search and rescue operations among other duties. Arapahoe County now joins many other law enforcement agencies across the front range who maintain Mounted Units.