Retired Tulsa Police Horse Continues To Serve
By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- When Tulsa was forced to dramatically make cuts to the city's budget in October, the Tulsa Police Mounted Patrol didn't stand a chance. The eight horses were left jobless and homeless.
The horses were then adopted by non-profit organizations, and they had new roles and responsibilities.
What are the retired horses that served the City of Tulsa doing now?
Roscoe had experienced it all as a former police horse: crowds, gunfire and parades.
Now the 13-year-old gelding with an intelligent eye and a patient personality is thriving in his new role in therapy.
"We tell the kids he has a lot of qualities I think a police officer has. He's very vigilant and calm. And assesses the situation," said Jennifer England, director of the Bit by Bit Program.
Roscoe now calls Roger's State University home, and he's a favorite mount for the riders in the Bit by Bit program.
"We'll talk about chasing down desperados and getting the bad guy with the police horse and being the sheriff, being the deputy," England said.
Twelve-year-old Ellie is just one of the riders to fall in love with the stoic horse with the Tulsa Police freeze brand on his hip.
"She won't tell you her name. If you were in public and you were to ask her name, she will tell you her horse's name," said parent Leslie Westfall.
Therapeutic riding is geared towards helping people who deal with physical, cognitive or emotional problems. Ellie's mother Leslie says her daughter is autistic and has developmental delays.
They often use sign language to communicate.
"This is for police, and this is for horse. So she is very proud of her police horse," Westfall said.
"She really benefits from that movement. Being able to have that nice big walk and trot," said Bit by Bit Director Jennifer England.
The Bit by Bit director says Roscoe has benefited because he still continues to serve.
"Being a police horse, being out in the public; he loves people," she said.
It's all in a day's work for Roscoe, one retired member of Tulsa's finest.
"Yeah he just fits right in," said Leslie Westfall, whose daughter benefits from the Bit by Bit program and former police horse Roscoe.
"He's a proud horse and we're just thrilled to have him."