LIMA — After two days of training, this posse is ready to take on all challenges, four hooves at a time.
The Allen County Sheriff's Mounted Posse hosted its annual “Buckeye State Mounted Deputies Annual Training” this weekend at the Allen County Fairgrounds, a training seminar for officers looking to extend their duties to mounted units. These officers from across the state voluntarily fund all the costs, equipment and bring their own horses in order to receive the unique training that will serve them.
Joel Gillette, lieutenant instructor for more than 20 years, said this training is a valuable asset for officers across the state to learn.
“The mounted posse training was created to enable officers the ability to train in different types of crowd control securities,” Gillette said. “We have officers from Columbus, Cleveland and Athens who are here to learn what it takes to support different events throughout the year.”
This year's Mounted Posse Training was a bit more special than years in the past. This weekend's training marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Allen County Sheriff's Mounted Unit. Mounted units can be found during local events and parades during the year, events such as the Allen County Fair, St. Gerard's Festival and Star Spangled Spectacular.
Although no funds are provided through tax dollars, the Mounted Unit also relies on fundraisers and donations to help cover some of the costs incurred after the training. Money raised for the program helps fund leather items for the horses, two-way radios and uniforms for its members. Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish appreciates the effort given by those in the posse and feels they deserve any help residents can give.
“We are proud to host this annual event for those who want to be a part of the mounted posse,” Crish said. “They deserve the recognition of our public and any help our citizens can provide.”
Training for the posse unit was designed to give officers experience with different types of situations and formations that could be implemented at any given time, depending on the situation. Some of the major formations included side-by-side, wedging and interlocking, where the horses form a line together while facing opposite sides in order to maintain vision from both sides of a crowd.
Doc Payton, mounted instructor since 2000, knows the importance of mounted units and what the impact of being on a horse can do to aid an officer.
“This mounted posse training provides another type of security while utilizing different ways to use the horses,” Payton said. “Horses help officers see better, can move faster, easier to use for crowd control and the horses grab people's attention, which makes it easier to control them.”
All in all, this weekend's training is about providing officers from across the state with the opportunity to learn the tools that are necessary to be a part of the mounted posse. Gillette knows this training would not exist without the efforts of many involved.
“I want to make sure to thank the Allen County Sheriff's Office for all the work they do for our program,” Gillette said. “This training would not occur without their efforts and they deserve to be recognized for their efforts.”