We Support the Police

Romans 13:4 describes the Police: “For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.”

Our USA police and military are the only protection standing between us and those who we prefer not to meet in person. Here at Hearts in Hand Horsemanship we promote positive interaction between the community and the police. I personally have a long history with the military, police and EMS.

I was an Army brat, raised in and out of Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Uniformed personnel were the norm to me, as were artillery and firearms. At age 16 I joined the Police Explorer group in our city. This group of geeks and nerds who loved hiking in the Wichita Mountains included 38 young men (many were Eagle Scouts), and 2 young women (both became police).

The Lawton, Oklahoma Police Department sponsored our Explorer group, and allowed us to shoot our sidearms in the indoor shooting range at Lawton Police HQ. I know, times have changed right? We worked security at football games, and performed unarmed-citizen, auxiliary police work. We were so proud to be a part of the police team in Lawton. The Police Department always nurtured our group and provided valuable insight, direction and leadership.

Many years later, the Lawton Police ensured that my mentally disabled brother was never arrested, even after one incident where he violently attacked them by throwing glass bottles. They checked on him frequently and kept me updated. To those unfamiliar with Lawton, it’s a rough town. These same police were always very busy pursuing real criminals. Thank you Lawton, Oklahoma Police!

While many of the Lawton Police Explorers went on to get degrees in Criminal Justice and become law enforcement professionals, I pursued emergency medical services, including EMT-Firefighter in Bolinas, CA, RockMed in the Bay Area, NYS EMT, NYS Paramedic Intern, and National Ski Patrol in MA and VT. I worked many a scene in the ER, on an ambulance, in a fire truck and on the slopes. Always, and I mean ALWAYS I am very relieved and glad to see the police arrive at the scene.

Later in life, as a bicycle mechanic, I volunteered with the Albany Police Department bike rodeo; was then recruited by the Albany Police to work with Troy Bike Rescue repairing and giving away bicycles (and helmets) to south end Albany youth. While getting fingerprinted by the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s department in Troy, NY for my pistol permit, I was recruited to give away their bicycles. I assisted the Pittsfield, MA police by providing mechanic and helmet fitting services during their bike rodeo in downtown Pittsfield.

Prison Yoga for Corrections Officers

I volunteered through Kripalu for the Berkshire County Sheriff teaching yoga to inmates and corrections officers at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Corrections. Please see the initial letter sent to correction’s officers below to prepare the way. I was approved to provide services to the corrections officers, and we had some great classes together. It was nice to teach at the jail and not behind bars in lockup as when working with inmates.

March 10, 2014

To whom it may concern,

We have had the good fortune to receive and offer from Julie Harrell, a Volunteer instructor in Women’s Yoga to offer an invaluable service to correctional officers at the Sheriff’s Office Jail and House of Correction staff.

If approved, Julie will begin teaching an eight week Yoga series to Correctional Officers and staff at the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office.  This population is trained to work with inmates who are incarcerated at this facility.  The Sheriff’s mission is to provide care and custody to those sent here by the courts, and to do so in a safe and secure environment. Carrying out this mission is challenging task, and one that requires a skill set that includes, intense training and ability to maintain a clear and constant vigilance in a stressful environment, personal communication skills, and consistent messaging. 

Although those working in corrections receive ongoing training, opportunities for personal wellness are not readily available.  The department has recently been involved in a state-wide conversation, with other Correctional Officials to direct our efforts toward providing more opportunities for Officers and others to address stress reduction in this workplace.

Assist. Deputy Superintendent for Programs and Treatment, Berkshire County Jail and House of Corrections

Bike Giveaway in Albany

Cops love kids. This is a scene in Albany, NY where we fitted helmets and gave away bicycles.

As a bike mechanic I could not resist taking a look at the officer’s bikes.

This lovely lady noticed how I was handling parents at the Albany Bike Rodeo so she asked me to join her in the Albany Police Department bike repair and giveaway.

Starving and neglected horses

Hearts in Hand Horsemanship supports law enforcement by providing equine services at any time for anyone on the job. Sometimes the job is hard, such as when starving horses require rescue. People don’t realize that getting and executing a warrant for a rescue is a big challenge. Even if it’s obvious to us, the law requires due diligence and proof of neglect. I have been privileged to participate in rescues and warrant executions, providing information to the police to better enable them to have all the facts, and ensure the rescue of horses who required police protection. Thank you to you all.

Sonny along with his three pasture mates was a starving and neglected horse who lived in our neighborhood. I rode my bike by these horses almost daily and watched them slowly decline.

A deputy in a town near us participated in a warrant execution and rescued dozens of horses. I was assisting a rescue that was picking up some of the horses, and received permission to take these photographs.

It is truly bliss to know a starving horse is finally being cared for and will survive the winter. I experienced indescribable joy visiting Sonny after he and his pasture mates were finally safe.

Equine activities for the police

What happens if you come visit? You will get your boots dirty. Activities can include learning how to gain the trust of a horse at liberty who is afraid of tarps, and then putting the tarp on the horse. Remember, our horses are free on 22 acres, so they can run away. The challenge is to mind meld with the horse enough to keep them in place allowing the scary tarp to be applied. The benefit to both horse and trooper/officer is the focus required to build relationship. This activity directly translates into dealing with the public from a distance then up close, and also allows a quiet moment in the mind of our front line law enforcement soldiers. Horses require your complete focus to remain engaged.

For more adventurous police adventures, we have put this same brave trooper on a horse for the first time, bareback, and handed her a bow to shoot. Every time she shot the bow, the horse would spook. I never worried she would fall off the horse as she learned the emergency dismount. This is just plain fun!

Thank you to the Police for helping us help horses

During cruelty cases here in our area, on multiple occasions law enforcement agencies have taken the extra steps to execute warrants so that local rescues could step and and ensure a stable home with food and veterinary care for the horses. Hearts in Hand Horsemanship collaborates with law enforcement in these cases, and are greatly appreciative of their efforts to help us protect these vulnerable creatures from starvation and harm.

Thank you to you all who have executed those warrants, braving our legal system to ensure the starving neglected horses are now safe. You know who you are. You also know we will sign affidavits that stand up in a court of law.

We back the blue.