Mounted Patrol to celebrate birthday

Thomas Garcia

Members of Tucumcari’s Troop 21 of the New Mexico Mounted Patrol will attend the state convention Friday and Saturday in Clovis.

The NMMP is a state agency created by New Mexico law and made up of certified volunteer police officers.

Troop 21 operates as an independent state agency which assists any law enforcement agency in the state, said Nathan Wallace, a member of the Tucumcari branch of the Mounted Patrol.

Wallace, along with Dean Cooper, Jessica Hall, Denny Hill, Melvin McAfoo, Eugene Ross and Walter Duthak make up the Tucumcari Mounted Patrol.

“We respond when other law enforcement agencies need assistance,” said Ross.

Wallace said troop 21 assists cities, counties, and other state agencies in the event of emergencies or special detail where the agencies do not have enough officers.

“We can help during checkpoints, search and rescue and many other situations,” Wallace said.

Wallace said the troop’s members assume the same authority and accept the control of the agency they are assisting.

“It takes a commitment,” said Cooper. “It’s not something you join just for the namesake. You are required to complete and continue training.”

New Mexico Governor John Miles signed a bill on April 16, 1941, creating the Mounted Patrol as it is known today.

The Mounted Patrol celebrated its 70th anniversary this year, while Tucumcari’s branch, which was established in 1973, celebrated its 38th anniversary.

Commemorating the anniversary, Ross issued a letter.

“I would like to say as Troop 21 First Lieutenant how proud I am of this troop under my command. These officers are well-trained and qualified in the law enforcement field. All six of us have been commissioned through the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. Presently there are four troop members working for a law enforcement agency and one in a regulation enforcement capacity. I am proud of the New Mexico Mounted Patrol and the experiences and friendships it has given me the past 32 years,” his letter states.