The Dolores town board agreed to help out the Montezuma County sheriff’s plan to patrol on horseback.
The town voted to allow stables to be constructed next to the town shop on the west end of town. Horses will be rested and fed there while on duty, but will not be housed overnight.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin reported the mounted patrol program has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Laura Jane Musser Fund to purchase stables and equipment for the horses.
The sheriff’s office is also applying for a $60,000 Justice Assistance Grant to run the program, which would include hiring a part-time manager.
“It is part of our community policing program,” Nowlin said. “There are benefits to patrolling by horse, and it works well for special events.”
Four mustang geldings will be obtained from the BLM’s Centennial Herd Management Area in California and are free of charge. They will each go through 120 hours of training before being released to the sheriff’s office.
Ted Holland, a reserve officer for Montezuma County and policeman for Mountain Village, will further train the horses for patrol work. Once on duty, they will be used to patrol in Dolores and more remote areas in the county. They will also be available to aid search and rescue teams, and for patrolling special events.
The horses will be housed permanently at the Medicine Horse facility in Mancos. They will also have stables available at the county fairgrounds during the day. Interested deputies will be trained to patrol with the horses.
“We hope the program will begin by early fall of this year,” Nowlin said. “There will be no additional costs to the town of Dolores.”