Eugene Ross joined the New Mexico Mounted Patrol 25 years ago and Saturday to honor that he was presented with a plaque to honor that service at the NMMP annual Convention in Artesia.
“It was a lot different then,” said Ross about when he started with the mounted patrol in 1978. “It’s changed quite a bit through the years. It’s gotten more complicated.”
It was a time according to Ross where the desire to serve was most of the require to help. “Now it has more to do with certifications you have to have,” said Ross. The long-time mounted patrolman always wanted to be involved with law enforcement. When he was growing up in Gallup, his dream was to be either a state patrolman or a member of the Navajo Tribal Police.
The problem was, however, he was too light. He could never achieve the 160 pounds that was required. “The heaviest I’ve ever been is 158,” said Ross. “I just can’t gain weight.”
So the young Navajo turned to another profession, welding to make money, but he still was fascinated with law enforcement as his life’s work. Because of that he kept going back to law enforcement. Once he signed on as a deputy in the Quay County Sheriff’s Office, another time he became a deputy at the Harding County Sheriff’s Office and yet another time he served as the Mosquero Town Marshall.
It was awhile after that he joined the New Mexico Mounted Police to be able to serve with that organization. “I don’t think it has a downside,” said Ross. “I love every part of it.”
In fact, the 25 year veteran of the patrol has taken part in virtually every portion of the organization. He has led parades, he has been a tracker of lost children and was the arresting officer for serial killer Henry Lucas. Through it all, however, he said the portion that he likes the best is serving at the New Mexico State Fair. “We don’t do that any more though,” said Ross. Ross said he also enjoys working the games and other activities that the local mounted patrol are called upon do “We do about 25 a year,” said Ross about the football and basketball games and things like the county fair.