IMG_9536By Jessica Travis

SUNY Cobleskill was pleased to host the first and only Advanced Mounted Patrol Officer Course for experienced riders from June 8 to June 14, 2014. Officers from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Environmental Conservation and SUNY Delhi attended the advanced short training which was delivered with the assistance of SUNY Cobleskill Campus Police Officer John Bagdovitz, who currently is the only mounted police officer in the SUNY system.

Retired NY State Park Police Officer Richard Pelzer, the instructor for the program, designed this program with the goal to shorten the traditional six week full course to a 56 hour course thereby lessening the strain on departments in terms of the release time needed for officer training. Upon the conclusion of an officer’s participation in the Advanced Mounted Patrol Officer Course, the individual is certified to train a mounted patrol horse and use that horse as a patrol vehicle. Examples of the challenges presented during the Mounted Patrol training course include exposure to gun fire, traffic noise and interaction with large crowds of people. All of these circumstances often agitate a horse, which is why the course is crucial for teaching the officer how to best deal with the horse during these situations and building a bond that influences the horse to trust the rider.

SUNY Cobleskill houses the ideal facilities for this endeavor and hopes to continue its involvement in Mounted Patrol courses in the future. “Overall, Mounted Patrol is declining in usage and that is not a good thing. SUNY Cobleskill University Police is trying to do its part to keep it alive and growing,” said Officer Bagdovitz.

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