Motto: No terrain too rough, no task too tough.
The Fort Worth Police Department Mounted Patrol began in the late 1970's in response to transient problems occurring in the Stockyards area. There was also a desire on the part of the citizens in this historic section of the city to see an officer on horseback both as a working police officer and as a reminder of our western heritage.
In the early days, there wasn't a formal mounted patrol unit. An officer who was able to ride and who owned a horse, tack, and trailer was chosen to be the first Fort Worth police officer to ride a horse in several decades.
As one officer left, another one would step in knowing they had to provide their own equipment, care for their own horse and do the job with the resources they could provide. One such officer, Jack D. Powers, was the second officer to serve in the early Mounted Unit. Officer Powers was very well known both in Fort Worth and throughout the world due to magazine articles about him. Even a few wanted persons would ask for him by name because they only wanted to turn themselves over to him.
As time went by, slowly the city began providing minor services such as basic veterinary care, feed, farrier, and a two-stall barn. In 1987, a volunteer mounted patrol was organized. To qualify, those interested had to bring their own horses and try out. What began as a "public relations" unit would soon become a fully established unit within the department with a little bit of help from some friends.
Wanting to give something back to the city, the North Fort Worth Business Association extended a helping hand to the mounted unit. When they learned that the two-stall barn was just not adequate, a first-class eight-stall barn with water and feeder and concrete slab was built. This gave the volunteer mounted unit a place to house their horses.
Shortly thereafter, Chief Windham began to assign officers to the unit on an "on loan" basis. They worked the Stock Show, downtown, or wherever they were needed.
However, it was obvious by the response from the public and business owners that more was needed. In the Spring of 1987, Chief Windham held a breakfast with some business leaders and challenged them to create a support group. As a result, the Citizens Support Group for the Mounted Patrol was organized. This organization undertook to provide horses, trailers, tack, and other items and services for the expanded mounted unit.
Unit members are proud of the fact that they can take a person who has never ridden before, and after a few weeks of strenuous training, some hard work, and not a few uncontrolled dismounts, make that person an effective mounted officer.
Mounted teams can always be seen in the Stockyards areas; however, two-officer teams are assigned to other sections of the city as needed. The teams are highly visible, very effective, and go wherever they are needed. Their special maneuverability enables them to be effective at area malls, hospital parking lots, downtown, or residential areas. The mounted units are especially useful in searching rugged terrain for lost or deceased persons.
Horses have been used for riot and crowd control for centuries. The crowd control training is arduous and very demanding for both horse and rider. The Fort Worth Mounted Unit conducts training in these techniques every month and is ready any day to assemble and, with the help of SWAT and other crowd-control officers, to help deal with any such problem. The mounted unit has come a long way indeed from the day of the single volunteer officer.