Buxton Police Department Executive Assistant Manny Costa, shown here in his office, was a former member of the Mounted Patrol police unit in Houston, Texas. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Manny Costa, the civilian executive assistant for the Buxton Police Department and former dispatcher, knows his way around a horse, speaks three languages and has many crime-fighting stories to tell.

Costa, 66, is a retired Mounted Patrol police officer in Houston, Texas, where he started his career in law enforcement as a beat policeman and then moved to special operations.

“The key behind all this is the passion to serve,” he said.

He enjoyed meeting people on his beat and later astride a horse nearly 6 feet at the withers. He provided security for world figures and for the 2004 Super Bowl, and he witnessed some crime scenes he can’t erase from his mind.

Manny Costa as a mounted police officer in Houston with Jackie G. who liked doughnuts. Contributed / Manny Costa

A native of Long Island, New York, Costa applied to the Houston Police Department while visiting friends in the area. He thought then, “they’ll never call me,” but his language skills impressed the captain. “The captain said ‘none of these S.O.B.s can speak the languages you can,'” he said.

On his very first day on the job in 1985, he was the first officer to arrive at a homicide – a man had been shot and Costa had to chase dogs away from the man’s body. Another time, he was called to the scene of the murder of a young mother whose baby was found in a refrigerator.


“How can you not take the job home with you?” Costa said.

Other experiences were less gruesome.

By happenstance, Costa was in an unmarked car outside a jewelry store when called about an armed robbery in progress at the store. Costa corralled one of the suspects.

“We rolled on the ground a little bit,” he said, before he took the suspect into custody.

All the suspects were arrested and a half million dollars’ worth of loot stuffed in duffle bags was recovered.

Costa pulled a gun in several incidents but fired at no one. “Love everyone, but be ready to take them out,” he said.


In the Mounted Patrol, one of Costa’s horses was Jackie G., a smart thoroughbred who liked doughnuts and knew the sequence of traffic signals, he said. Costa once captured a suspected rapist in a park who couldn’t outrace Jackie G.

Costa was riding Jackie G. one day when, in a “freaky” accident, the horse spun around, throwing him to the sidewalk.

Manny Costa displays his police campaign hat from days in Texas. When on duty his horse drank water from it, he said. Robert Lowell / American Journal

“The lights went out,” Costa said. Seriously injured, he was put into an induced coma for a week. After rehabilitation, he requalified for the mounted unit.

On horseback he provided security for U.S. presidents – both Bushes and Bill Clinton – and for the Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.

He received a proclamation from the Houston mayor when he retired in 2006. His wife of 48 years, Isabel, chose Maine for their retirement.

For a while Costa, who worked as a young man for a global airline, was employed as general manager of the Wiscasset Municipal Airport, but seven years ago he returned to his true calling in Buxton.

Police Chief Kevin Collins said this week that Costa is his right hand man.

“He is extremely knowledgeable in his duties; he is very organized and loyal,” Collins said. “He knows the ins and outs of our agency like no other.

“He is excellent in what he does and keeps me organized and on schedule with my duties as chief. Most of all, he is also a great friend and I trust him 100%. He comes to work every day with a positive attitude and works hard to make the town of Buxton and the police department a better place,” Collins said.
Costa says his years in policing were awesome.
“When the Lord calls me home, I’ll probably be a cop,” he said.

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