The organization of a “volunteer effort” to aid the Sheriff of a county in America became formally known as a posse back to the early 1600’s. The name “posse” is derived from the familiar Latin term “posse comitatus” which translates to a “volunteer effort of the county.”
Though much has changed over the 300+ years since the formation of the first American posses, the origin of volunteerism to benefit the citizens of the county still remains the cornerstone of even today’s dedicated posses.
The mounted posse is a non-profit group of volunteers who dedicate their time to their communities and the Sheriff's Department. The troops are comprised of volunteers who use their personal horses for Department duties such as patrol, search and rescue, public relations, parade detail and charity events.
Not all members of the mounted posse are riding members. Many troops welcome volunteers who would like to dedicate their time as "ground support" whose jobs are to ensure safety of the crowds and public who wish to interact with the posse horses and riders, provide clean up detail, and ensure the protection of the riders' personal equipment while on duty as well as serve as "eyes and ears" lookout in different situations.
Not Just for “Show and Tell”
Often the face of the department at special events like parades, Ramona Pageant, Coachella Fest, Balloon and Wine Festival, Farmer’s Fair, and malls during holidays, the Sheriff's Posse plays a very important role in public relations for the department around the county. Today’s posse however, are much more than just for “show and tell.”
Volunteers must be 18 years of age. Be a citizen of the United States of America or a legal resident with a citizen application in process, pass a basic background investigation and be in reasonable health and physically able to perform the duties required of a Mounted Posse members. Riding members must own, or have reasonable access to and satisfactorily maintain an equine in good condition and sound health. Riding members must also own or have reasonable access to a truck and horse trailer. Ground support members need not own a horse or trailer, but should be able to meet the physical requirements of their duties.
How to Volunteer
Whether patrolling Water District lands in the Banning Pass area on weekends for trespassers and vandals, patrolling the horse trails of Norco, or assisting at DUI checkpoints in Hemet, the Sheriff's Mounted Posse contributes in many ways beyond just appearances at special events.
Contact your Local Volunteer Coordinator for more information on volunteering for a posse in your area.