Mounted police debut in Hayden



Courtesy Photo

Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch, left, and Hayden police Officer Ed Corriveau patrol the Hayden Daze festival this past weekend atop horses Smokie and Jake. The horses, owned by Birch, are part of a mounted patrol "pilot program" in Hayden.

— Visitors to last weekend's Hayden Daze festival were introduced to the newest members of Hayden's police force. Horses Smokie and Jake, both geldings, made their debut in what Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch is calling a mounted patrol "pilot program."

Birch and Hayden police Officer Ed Corriveau sat atop the horses, which were used to patrol the perimeter of Hayden Daze events and the event's parking lots. Mounted units will next be used during the Routt County Fair. Birch said mounted units are ideal for patrolling special events with crowds of people because of their visibility to residents and the high vantage point they afford officers. Whether the horses will ever be used on a more frequent basis for tasks such as patrolling neighborhoods has yet to be determined, Birch said. He said the horses were popular with residents at Hayden Daze.

"It's a very, very fun, very positive way to connect with the public because people love to see horses," Birch said.

Although new to Hayden, mounted units are no stranger to Birch, who for seven years oversaw the mounted division of the Los Angeles County police department he retired from. Thirty-year-old Smokie is a 15-year veteran of that same force. Birch is the owner of both horses.

The pilot program's costs to the town have been limited to two official police blankets for the horses, Birch said. The time officers spent training for the program was volunteered.

The horses also went through training to get them used to crowds, loud noises, vehicles and other things they might encounter as police horses, Birch said.

"A lot of the work for the horses is sensory training, creating a situation where the horse is bombproof," Birch said.

Birch said whether the horses would be used for more than special events would be determined based on practicality. He said he could imagine everyday situations that might be appropriate for a mounted unit.

"There are things you can do on foot, there are things you can do in a vehicle and there are things you can do on a horse," Birch said.

Birch noted the horses are familiar with the rural areas around Hayden and could possibly be used to assist search and rescue missions.


id04sp 9 years, 10 months ago

Hey, Dundalk:

Holy, cow(girl)! Is this what Birch would have inflicted upon the RCSO if he'd been elected?

Can't imagine ANYTHING more foolish in the 21st century than a mounted patrol in an area with motor traffic. Horses are pretty good for crowd control because it gives you a higher point to observe the goings on, and because most reasonable people are intimidated by the size of the animal. So, I'm sure there was a purpose in the LAPD even though it seems backwards -- horses in LA, but not in Hayden.

When was the last riot in Hayden?

Remote parts of town better suited to horses? For what, chasing armed desperados who escaped on horses after being pulled over for speeding?

The biggest threat to life and limb in Hayden is the 18-wheel truck, and I think that Birch could spend his time much better running the radar on US 40 and keeping that visible speed trap working for us. Might that be better than providing a distraction (the horse) for pedestrians and motorists?

It is certainly true that the horses could be useful for search and rescue missions in remote parts of the county. Hunters and hikers stranded in the snow, or with a medical emergency, could benefit from mounted searchers . . . but in the Hayden city limits?

Well, say goodbye to a Birch candidacy if your recall effort succeeds. You might have had a shot if the comparison was Birch in his patrol vehicle, stopping the folks who are hazards to life and limb, compared to Bustros getting in a wreck in Utah. This horsie thing certainly levels the buffoon factor. It's obvious that Birch is bored with his job, and wants to bring his horsie to work.


fish 9 years, 10 months ago

No I will tell you exactly what Birch is doing, If he puts them down as Hayden's mounted patrol he can have the city pay the cost of stabling his horses, feeding them, and every other expense that most people that want to have a PET horse have, this guy has just proven that he is just as crocked as any one he arrests.


Malcolm_Reynolds 9 years, 10 months ago

Oh!, the Steamboat mentality, let's get Boulderistic. I must laugh.

Good Job, Ray! It was very nice to see you and Ed on the horses. Hayden IS still a Ranching Community.


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