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,