The El Monte Police Department has had a history of utilizing mounted officers in the 1940’s and 1950’s and this tradition has been recently revived and updated with the formation of the current Mounted Patrol, which is proving to be one of our most successful and popular new programs. The mounted officers are invaluable in situations involving large crowds, serving both as a deterrent and “observation platform.” They also currently patrol the parks and bike trails within our City and the San Gabriel River horse and bike trail recreational area along El Monte’s eastern border. The police officers currently involved in the program and their equine partners, also participate in crime suppression and traffic enforcement assignments in areas of congested or heavy traffic, such as the El Monte Valley Mall. Additionally, the Mounted Patrol is available for school programs and ceremonial duties such as color guard, parades and other City functions.
The officers and their mounts have undergone hundreds of hours of training for their wide range of specialized duties. The horses must be able to function as a law enforcement tool in crowd control and other enforcement duties and yet be a gentle goodwill ambassador for the Police Department while being petted by a small child at a park or school.
This program provides an enhanced level of public safety, crime suppression, and crime prevention for the people of El Monte in situations where a more conventional police presence would be far less effective. As these horses are privately owned and maintained, they are leased to the City for one dollar per year. While they are on duty, the Police Department is able to provide an enhanced level of service to the community at very little expense.
One of the most exciting aspects to the El Monte Police Department Mounted Program was the addition of “Mounted Police Volunteers” in 1998. The goals of the volunteer group are to both provide service to the community and lend support to the Mounted Patrol. Mounted police volunteers serve as extra “eyes and ears” for the Police Department, but do not take law enforcement action. Other activities include parades, school programs, community events and assisting the Mounted Patrol officers in patrolling recreational and shopping areas. Both riding and non-riding support members are welcome.