Who are the Arizona Rangers?
In the early 1900’s the border between the territory of Arizona, although sparsely populated, was up to its ears in outlaws, bandits and lawbreakers of all sorts. To deal with the problem the Arizona Territorial Legislature put together an elite team of men who were not only some of the most well-trained of their day but also were equipped with the finest horses and the latest, most modern weapons. They were the Arizona Rangers and their legacy continues to this very day.
Initially formed in secret the Arizona Rangers took to the task of ridding Arizona of these desperados, especially along the heavily traveled Mexico/Arizona border. They were darn good at it too, taking down individuals and gangs alike and making the westward migration safer for travelers. Today they operate as an assist organization for law enforcement in Arizona and, similar to the early days, they help keep the borderlands safe from criminals and criminal activity of all types.
When 1st conceived the Arizona Rangers were a relatively small unit consisting of a Captain, Sergeant and 12 privates. Many of the original Arizona Rangers had fought alongside Theodore Roosevelt as members of his famous Rough Riders and were highly skilled at what they did. Brilliant horseman, keen trackers, accomplished marksman and all-around excellent frontiersmen they were feared by criminals and respected by their peers. As time went on their ranks swelled to 26 men and their initial secrecy evolved and changed to the point that they wore their badges openly as they travelled. One of their most famous attributes was that they were extremely well armed and thus even more formidable.
The Arizona Rangers dealt with some of the most arduous challenges under extremely grueling circumstances. Back in the early part of the last century the west was an unforgiving land and a man could quickly find himself in trouble if he ran out of food or life-giving water. The Arizona Rangers faced arid, scorching hot conditions before the advent of all of today’s modern conveniences and they also faced-off with rustlers, horse-thieves, bandits and other criminal scum. They were called in to quell the Cananea Riot in 1906 in Sonora, Mexico as well and helped to restore order there when Captain Thomas Rynning rode in leading his Rangers and a posse of men 300 strong.
To the dismay of many the Arizona Rangers were disbanded in 1909 due to political changes but in 1957 they were reformed as a voluntary organization and have remained so to this day, working in tandem with local law officers. In 2002 they were officially recognized by the state when Legislative Act 41 was signed into law. .
Today the Arizona Rangers are under the direct supervision and control of established local and state police officials in Arizona providing law enforcement assistance when necessary. They also are heavily involved in community service work and provide support to the youth of many Arizona towns and cities. Indeed,the Arizona Rangers have provided leadership to the communities that they serve and have held high the traditions of law, honor and dignity that the original founders instilled so many years ago.