Thursday, May 8, 2014

Colfax History: Mounted Patrol

Photo courtesy of Denver Public Library Digital Collections

Horses were in use from the earliest days of the Denver Police Department. This picture was taken sometime between 1921 and 1928 of Denver's Mounted Patrol in Civic Center Park on Colfax Avenue. Captain George Merritt is mounted on a white horse in the center of the group. Originally, the city could not pay for the horses or feed them. They were supplied to pull Patrol Wagons, and housed at Fire Stations where there were stables. By the late 1800's, there was the establishment of Mounted Patrol to cover large areas, Denver Stockyards, and open spaces in Denver. By 1932, motorcycles and automobiles put the Mounted Patrol out of business. Most of the horses were sold at auction, with the exception of a couple which were kept for use by the Parks Police, but even those were gone by 1935. In the early 1980's, an "ad-hoc" Mounted Patrol was put together by volunteers for a special event, and it was such a success that it was brought back by 1985 and is still working today.

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