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By Norm Karn
Special to The SUN
The people you see at local events, dressed in Colorado Sky Blue, are members of the San Juan Mounted Patrol — volunteers in the community who direct traffic at summer parades, help with security at large festivals, deal with crowd control, contribute security at private events and private parties for a nominal fee, offer assistance to county search and rescue, when needed.
Some patrol members carry a weapon at their hip, some ride a horse and all wear their badges proudly. They are neighbors and co-workers, ranchers and retirees, men and women who love their community, county and country. The San Juan Mounted Patrol, Troop F motto is, “Serving the Community With Pride and Integrity.”
Once a month, members of the San Juan Mounted Patrol meet at their headquarters at 302 San Juan St. to discuss issues, requests for services and upcoming training opportunities and requirements. The 20 members of Troop F take turns volunteering for local profit and non-profit events, performing duties that would otherwise be hired out at a large expense.
When events take place each summer, patrol members are the ones directing motorists to the parking areas and organizing the parking. During the annual Four Corners Folk Festival, members are the security presence at the main gate to Reservoir Hill.
At the Fourth of July Celebration, the patrol provides traffic control for the Town of Pagosa Springs during the parade. Members also spend nights performing security tasks at the many booths set up for the Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival.
If you miss them there, you will also see them directing traffic at the Archuleta County Fair.
In addition to receiving standard First Aid and CPR instruction, patrol members can voluntarily complete training that includes Alternatives to the Use of Deadly Force, Handgun Training and Qualification, Traffic Control and Radio Communication Procedures. Members of the San Juan Mounted Patrol stress that they are not police officers unless deputized and called upon to perform law enforcement duties by local authorities.
Today, the mission of the San Juan Mounted Patrol is to, “provide assistance to the people of Colorado by working in cooperation with the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to assist with security, traffic and crowd control, search and rescue and other similar functions as needed.”
The men and women of the patrol believe the organization is a way to give something back to their community. Not all members of the patrol own horses, but there are many who do, and others have the ability to grab a horse and go out for service. Having a horse or even an ability to ride is not a requirement for membership in the patrol, but a willingness to volunteer some hours to assist the community is certainly a desired trait.
Each spring, and this year on April 20, the patrol has a booth at the Earth Day celebration at Town Park. This is your opportunity to ask questions, pick up information or fill out an application to join the San Juan Mounted Patrol.
If you miss this event, contact Capt. Dan Lindauer at 264-0891 or stop by the building at 302 San Juan St. during a Troop F meeting, held the first Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. The patrol is looking forward to welcoming new applicants.