Four officers from the City of Pharr Police Department are recent graduates of a four-week joint-agency National Horse Patrol Certification program through the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector. The officers are the first to be Nationally Horse Patrol Certified since the department’s creation in the early 1900s. The unit is the first horse-patrolled police department unit in the region.
Graduates of the program are Sgt. Max Longoria, officer Luis Cardoza, officer Gabriel Lopez and officer Irving Segura, as well as two Border Patrol agents.
“This marks a new direction in our history at the Pharr Police Department,” said Police Chief Andy Harvey. “We are grateful to have been given this opportunity and for our wonderful partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection for working with us on making this initiative a reality. Our new Pharr PD Mounted Unit will serve our community proudly and we are so proud of our officers who will lead our newest policing efforts to ensure our safety and enhance our services to the community.”
During the graduation ceremony, Class 20 showcased their newly learned talents by performing a demonstration. Among those in attendance were City of Pharr officials, family, federal partners and members of the Pharr Police Department.
Training a New Unit
Agents and officers endured a rigorous four-week training program to complete the certification course. The graduates spent numerous hours in the classroom learning first-aid, feeding, housing, trailering and proper care of horses. The group also received instruction regarding field/river patrol, sign-cutting and riot/crowd control, as well as various job-related duties. The time spent with the horses also allows for building a solid foundation, as well as better understanding of the horse’s capabilities and limitations.
“This is a great responsibility and honor,” said Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. “We are thrilled to be the first Police Department in the region to have a Mounted Unit and look forward to increasing the number of officers in the unit in the future. This has been something we have been planning for a long time and we are thankful to all our federal partners who collaborated with us in making this a reality.”
The Pharr Police Department Unit should begin patrolling the city within the next 30-60 days. The unit will also work extensively within the community to provide outreach, educational and safety resources.