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Local Mounted Rangers leave state organization

After serving the area continuously for 48 years, local Troop F of the Colorado Mounted Rangers has decided to withdraw from the statewide organization to become the San Juan Mounted Patrol.

Their green shirts a fixture at many area events (providing security, traffic control and other duties), local rangers have also assisted law enforcement and emergency responders, as well as participated in search-and-rescue operations.

Last Thursday, representatives from Troop F sent letters to Gov. John Hickenlooper, Attorney General John Suthers and Chief Paul Schultz, Director of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, alerting those individuals of the troop’s intention to disband and so, withdraw from the CMR organization.

The letter alleged several instances that appeared to show a state CMR board willing to disregard its own bylaws in order to pursue an agenda in conflict with the wishes of many CMR members. Furthermore, the letter alleged that the state board had expelled board members who dissented with the board’s tactics.

The ultimate end of that agenda appears to be making the CMR a certified law-enforcement agency, with powers to make arrests, detain suspects and to carry weapons.

In the letter, Troop F representatives stated that, “CMR leadership seems unconcerned about using citizen restraint tactics and implements (staser, baton, hand cuffs) without meeting minimum Colorado standards for psychological screening and proficiency training.”

In a press release, Troop F representatives elaborated by saying, “Troop F members strongly disagreed with this change in direction believing that we better serve our communities when we assist, rather than supplant, our law enforcement and emergency management brethren.”

However, the press release made it clear that it was the board’s tactics that ultimately resulted in Troop F disbanding, stating, “While our view did not prevail within CMR, Troop F could have accepted the change but for the methods by which CMR brought change about and then stifled dissent.”

Nonetheless, members of Troop F are determined to continue serving Archuleta County in the way they have since 1963. Changing uniforms from green to blue, the rangers will now serve under the auspices of the San Juan Mounted Patrol, providing the same services they have for the past 48 years.

“The new San Juan Mounted Patrol members are committed to continuing Troop F’s 48 years of service to Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County,” the press release concluded. “Troop F will continue to provide our historic assistance to law enforcement, emergency management, search and rescue, and civic organizations without interruption. Even with the change in the color of our shirts, you’ll still recognize us on the streets, parks and back country as before.”

jim@pagosasun.com

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