Op­er­a­tion E.L.K.

Catron Courier - - Front Page - By Sam “Sweetwater” Sav­age

Lo­cal law en­force­ment has been look­ing to im­prove ser­vice and yet do it within in their lim­ited bud­gets. Af­ter years of re­search, the Op­er­a­tion E.L.K. was de­vel­oped. Doyle “Tonto” Men­tiroso, an en­force­ment con­sul­tant, notes, “Op­er­a­tion E.L.K. is a way we can stop a sus­pect ve­hi­cle re­motely any­where, giv­ing our deputies time to safely ar­rive at the scene.” This, how­ever, is not about tire punc­ture strips, or high bud­get fly­ing drones.

As Men­tiroso said, “There are lots more elk than peo­ple here. And I don’t care how big your car or truck is, an elk is big­ger. We’ve been train­ing the elk to jump out in front of spe­cific ve­hi­cles and jump out of the way to avoid be­ing hit. The driver of the ve­hi­cle will have to stop for fear of wreck­ing. The elk will learn a new skill that keeps it from be­ing hit.”

When asked how this train­ing was pos­si­ble, Men­tiroso said, “Elk are ac­tu­ally pretty eas­ier to deal with. We ini­tially ap­proached them with a bar­gain. If they be­came mem­bers of Op­er­a­tion E.L.K., we’d train them to cross roads safely.” Men­tiroso men­tioned work­ing with the de­part­ment of Game and Fish to mark the elk so hunters would know not to har­vest those par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­u­als. “We de­cided on re­flec­tive let­ters that spells out LESS on their sides. That stands for Law En­force­ment Spe­cial Ser­vice.”

Ac­cord­ing to Men­tiroso, “It turned out in our test­ing that the elk could iden­tify a sus­pect ve­hi­cle day or night. And to no­tify the elk which cars to stop re­motely, ended up be­ing one of the sim­plest things. The im­pres­sive rack of antlers some bulls have is an ideal an­tenna. We sprayed the antlers with a durable metal­lic paint, hooked it up, added a so­lar panel, and the bull was able to re­ceive di­rec­tions from dis­patch. We ra­dio the elk,

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