By Valerie Fink
In Spokane County, Washington, there is a dedicated team of men and women who are just wanting to spend quality time with their horses and to make a difference in the lives of others. This team of volunteers are members of SCOPE Mounted Patrol.
The diversity of these dedicated people range in age from as young as 18 to their mid 70s! Some are cancer survivors, married couples, family members and singles too. The horses are also from a wide variety of breeds and backgrounds, such as Quarter Horses, Appaloosa, Gaited breeds, Arabians, a rescued mustang and even a former pack horse! A few of these horses are shown in horse shows in both English and Western disciplines, not to mention Renaissance Faire’s! All horses must be well trained to handle unpredictable situations as well as the riders.
The mission of SCOPE members are to be ” The eyes and ears of the Spokane County Sheriffs Dept.” They support the officers in their quest to catch the bad guys and report suspicious activity by calling into Crime Check. That number is (509)456-2233. The public is also encouraged to do the same if they see something out of the ordinary.
As a self funded team who use their own horses, trucks, trailers, saddles and tack, they have several fund raisers to help cover costs. They offer despooking clinics and trail challenges which are held at Riverside State Park along the beautiful Spokane River. These are a lot of fun and a great test of a horse and riders partnership!
As members who are continually striving to educate themselves, they have monthly meetings in the winter when weather conditions are not favorable to ride and invite clinicians to speak on such things as proper hoof care, trailer safety, trail etiquette and what to pack in your saddle bags for emergency situations. It’s not all serious work though! They have fun potlucks and a great New Years Party at the home of Captain John and Debbie Dunlop!
In teams of at least two riders, their territory encompasses State and County Parks, Conservation areas and private land if one requests it. Shopping malls and the local Polo Club also love seeing us patrol their parking areas.
As the team has grown and evolved, many members have formed lasting friendships and are always there with support and advice for each other in a crisis. Their love of horse and community has brought them together, so if you see the teams in green, just know that the Sheriff Community Oriented Policing Effort is on your side and there to assist !