Enforcing the law on horseback is an important tool for the Boulder City, Nevada Police Department. They debuted the mounted unit a few years ago.
Now Boulder City police not only ride the horses around town but also in the desert where some people choose to live. Boulder City law allows anyone to camp for 48 hours in one place (like the desert). And while technology helps identify certain homeless encampments, officers say horseback still proves to be the best method.
“It does make you feel like you’re in the Wild West,” said Scott Pastore of the Boulder City Mounted Patrol Unit.
Instead of using ATVs the officers ride horses to access remote areas.
“Horses are more versatile,” Pastore said. “They can get more places than some of the vehicles out there.” The horses give the mounted unit mobility while doing “quality of life” patrols. Pastore tries to ensure people have proper resources to survive the elements. But he and his partners also have to enforce the law, including the littering ordinance. Pictures from past patrols show trash on the hillsides.
The officers want to ensure all stay safe.
“Sometimes, people have warrants, they’re outstanding,” Pastore said. “They’re felony warrants so a good place to hide is in the desert.”
A few find creative ways to disguise their encampments. From a ladder leading down into a shaft to building a wall of rocks as camouflage. Drones help law enforcement identify a few places but not all.
All expenses associated with the mounted unit are paid for by the officers or through fundraising efforts. Metro police also donated equipment for the unit.
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