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Chief rounds up new posse

The patch on the uniform will feature the Texas state seal and Pilot Point on the rocker.

Riders will wear Fort Campbell cavalry hats and cavalry-bib Western shirts. Horses will have specialized tack with a star in the middle.

“It will be a professional-looking organization,” Pilot Point police Chief Conner said, referring to the newly organized Pilot Point Mounted Posse.

Conner approached the Lake Ray Roberts Equestrian Trails Association with the idea of members helping to organize a mounted posse program. Other communities have mounted representatives of public services, he said. And many of those communities aren’t located in horse country like Pilot Point.

The goal is for the newly formed civic auxiliary group to make its first appearance in October during Bonnie and Clyde Days and the homecoming parade. Volunteers will train twice a month until then. They must commit to one training a month after that.

Eleven women and one man practiced parade and drill basics at the first Pilot Point Mounted Posse training last week at the Wolfcamp Equine Center on Foutch Road. Ranch manager Larissa Williamson opened up the facility for use by the mounted posse.

Members in the posse can commit to participating in parades, drill competitions or they can prepare to be called on to help during search and rescue operations. They will work with police in nonenforcement roles, like other volunteer groups such as Citizens on Patrol groups.

Sam Noble, a member of the Lake Ray Robert’s Equestrian Trail Association, led the club’s efforts to organize a mounted posse. She said she is looking to help provide members self-defense on horseback training, sensitivity training for horses and briefings from the police department on the duties of the posse.

Some department officers said they are interested in working with the newly formed group and learning about mounted patrol methods, Conner said.

“But if they were interested in learning mounted patrol for policing purposes, they would need much more training,” he said.

Members of the public interested in joining the posse as riders will have to pay for their own uniforms and they must own a safe horse they can transport. They must be at least 18 years old and have no felony convictions on their criminal history.

Nonriders can join the mounted posse and help with fundraising and equipment managing roles. During a brief meeting before the training last week, members suggested finding a box trailer to carry uniforms and equipment. It was also announced that a policy manual was in the process of receiving approval from the Greenbelt Alliance, the organization under which the mounted posse will operate as a nonprofit, and the City Council.

The next training is scheduled for Monday. Captain David Rogers, a trainer with the Hunt County Sheriff’s posse, has agreed to help the Pilot Point group practice drills. Noble told members she planned to visit posse meetings in Hunt County and Rockwall County to witness how those groups are training.

Margi Stauver, who lives between Denton and Aubrey, said she signed up to join the Pilot Point Mounted Posse to use her horse-riding skills for the community. She is a former member of a horsemanship drill team called the Vaquero Vanguard.

“It’s a really good exercise in precise, control of the horse,” Stauver said.

She pointed at Tanner, her 13-year-old quarter horse.

“He loves it,” she said. “He knows the maneuvers before I do sometimes.”

Cliff Hemming said he is looking forward to more men joining the posse.

“My interest would be the search and rescue,” he said.

A Cross Roads resident employed in information technology, Hemming is also a member of a local Community Emergency Response Team and a local Amateur Radio Emergency Service group, so the Pilot Point Mounted Posse would be a continuation of his work as an emergencymanagement volunteer.

Quick to smile, two-star Parelli horse trainer Debbie Adcock joked about the makeup of the posse.

“We’re a granny posse,” she said. “We’re not all trim and fit like these young 20-year-old girls that look sweet on horseback.”

“We’re not the Kilgore Rangerettes,” Stauver added.

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