The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office mounted patrol is better able to respond thanks to updated training.
The handlers spent Friday afternoon helping their horses through desensitizing training.
All the handlers and their horses are volunteers. So, they pay for the horses and whatever else they need to do the job. What they do is a community service that wouldn't be possible without them.
The volunteers aren't your average deputies. They have a four-legged partner with them, each getting specialized training to keep the public safe.
Heather Gow volunteered with the mounted patrol to honor her uncle who served in law enforcement. Her horse is a 17-year-old named Sugar.
"I feel it's my way of giving back,” said Gow.
For three years, the Rogers County Sheriff's Office mounted patrol has looked to the community to build its force. Each year the team grows and so does their skill.
"Three years ago, we started the mounted and had about four or five callouts for missing people,” said Andy Fullerton of the mounted patrol. “Every one of them have been found."
To stay ready, the team often undergoes methods of desensitization training. The horses are put through a gamut of exercises that challenge and monitor how they respond to uncomfortable or potentially scary situations.
"She's been out on calls and also training,” said Gow. “We've been in many parades, all types of scenarios."
They are exposed to loud noises, being touched and having things thrown at them.
The horses' core duties include crowd control and search and rescue missions. The practice they get during the training ensures the thousand pound animals remain cool and calm when it counts.
"They are pretty vital,” said Fullerton. “They take over the lead and do what we need them to do and get in some deep wooded areas."
Rogers County sheriff’s Office representatives say they are always looking for new volunteers for the mounted patrol. If you have a horse and you want to volunteer, contact their office.