BOULDER CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — Enforcing the law on horseback is an important tool for the Boulder City Police Department, who debuted their mounted unit a few years ago. The department is building rapport with the community while enhancing officer’s abilities.
Boulder City police not only ride the horses around town but the desert where some people choose to live. Boulder City law allows anyone to camp for 48 hours in one place. While technology helps identify certain homeless encampments, officers say horseback still proves to be the best method.
“It does make you feel like you’re in the Wild West,” said Scott Pastore of the Boulder City Mounted Patrol Unit.
Instead of using ATVs the officers ride horses to access remote areas.
“Horses are more versatile,” Pastore said. “They can get more places than, like I mentioned, some of the vehicles out there.”
The horses give the mounted unit mobility while doing “quality of life” patrols.
Pastore says the mission is to ensure people have proper resources to survive the elements. But he and his partners also enforce the law, including the littering ordinance. Pictures from past patrols show trash on the hillsides.
“That obviously presents environmental hazard,” said Guy Liedkie — Boulder City police officer. “Animals can get caught up in it, the netting and tarps can suffocate them.”
The officers want to ensure all stay safe.
“Sometimes, people have warrants, they’re outstanding,” Pastore said. “They’re felony warrants so a good place to hide is in the desert.”
A few find creative ways to disguise their encampments. From a ladder leading down into a shaft to building a wall of rocks as camouflage. Drones help law enforcement identify a few places but not all.
“My partner and I on horse identified 8 to 9 more that the drone did not see because from the drone’s eye, it’s camouflaged,” Pastore said.
“They’re a way to connect with people on a different level, Liedkie added. “Ultimately they’re just another tool. it’s no different than a patrol car.”
All expenses associated with the mounted unit are paid for by the officers or through fundraising efforts. Metro police also donated equipment for the unit.