PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Rounding up a posse, just like in the Old West, is something in Utah you can still see today. Not long ago a Sheriff’s Sergeant helped bring a posse full of horses and deputies back to Summit County, who saddle up when duty calls, in this edition of Behind The Badge.
When you think about the backcountry in Summit County, there’s a lot of rugged mountain terrain. That gives sheriff’s deputies a lot of ground to cover and it’s easier to do it on horseback than your own two feet. That’s why forming a sheriff’s posse isn’t something you just see in the movies. It’s real western life for Summit County Sheriff Sgt. Jeremie Forman. He rides horseback for the county’s Mounted Patrol.
“That’s by far the highlight in my career,” said Sgt. Jeremie Forman, Summit Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Forman helped form the county’s current sheriff’s posse you see today, trained to handle intense situations, respond on search and rescues, or simply trot through a parade.
“For whatever reason, the horse breaks down those barriers between the police and the public.
They’ll want to interact with the horse they want to visit with the police because we’re horseback, and that’s not something we get when we’re in our patrol cars,” said Forman.
Sure, Forman has done other notable things. In 2014, he won the Utah Sheriff’s Association’s Deputy of the Year for his work with police K9s, and now oversees the county’s school resource officers for three school districts. But Forman said he’s had moments with the posse he feels couldn’t have come any other way. Last fall he credits the posse for a miracle, searching for a missing hunter they’d given up on in the dark.
“We were riding through the trees, and I actually looked over and we could see a light. So, we decided we better at least ride over there and at least check it out. We were hollering for this guy and pretty soon he hollered back, and we were within a hundred yards of him.
From that time he answered us until we located him and got him out of there. The light was gone so I don’t know where the light came from, or what the light was. But I’m telling you we rode to the light, and that was where the guy was, and he didn’t have one,” said Forman.
So, whether it’s witnessing something he can’t explain, or simply seeing people’s special relationship with the posse, Forman feels having these horses on patrol is just as valuable today as it was in the Old West.