The Mounted Unit was established in 1973 by several members of the Sheriff's Department who were horse enthusiasts. Its origins can be traced back to the need to restore order, with a minimal number of Deputies, at the Annual La Grange Rodeo. After two years of training, the unit was approved for operation by Sheriff Dan Kelsay. Since that time the Mounted Unit has grown to the current level of 10 members, and at one time had 20 members. The Mounted Unit typically averages over 50 deployments (working details) per year.
The Mounted Unit primarily functions as a crowd control unit, helping to maintain or restore order at large crowd events such as; the Stanislaus County Fair, Riverbank Cheese and Wine Festival, Patterson Apricot Fiesta, various music concerts, etc. The Mounted Unit is an effective force multiplier and allows the peace to be kept with fewer number of Deputies onscene. Effective crowd management at these events helps to ensure that the events are kept peaceful and orderly, so that all those in attendance can enjoy them with friends and family.
In addition to the above, the Mounted Unit performs high visibility patrols in areas where it is beneficial to use horses such as; Woodward and Modesto Reservoirs (where crowds of over 50,000 during the holidays are the norm), Knight's Ferry Peddler's Fair, Crossroads Shopping Center during the holidays, etc.
The Mounted Unit also functions as a search and rescue resource having participated in multiple past search and rescue missions.
The Mounted Unit has historically participated in ceremonial and public relations events as well. These functions include the Annual Stanislaus County Peace Officer's Memorial, Annual California Peace Officer's Memorial, parades, school functions, etc. Unfortunately, budgetary constraints have greatly diminished the unit's attendance at these events.