They don't wear a badge, but six members of the El Paso County sheriff's staff are taking their skills from county detail to the city streets of Denver. When the Democratic National Convention starts on August 25th, so will one of the biggest assignments of a few El Paso county peacekeepers' careers.
They typically work off the beaten path.
"Anything people will dream up for us to do, we'll do it," said El Paso County Deputy Sean Ives.
They're expected to cover the same duties as any other part of the force.
"We've done traffic control," Ives said.
These peacekeepers even go as far as getting their deputy face to face with someone who's bent the rules.
"I had one young man tell me no cop on a horse could stop him and give him a ticket," Deputy Larry Murphy.
Gunsmoke and Hercules, two of the county’s six horses on duty, now have security detail on a big-city scale. The two will add a combined 2,000-plus pound of muscle to the Denver Police force, which is bracing for the surge of DNC spectators.
"In the past these events have needed officers one agency simply can't provide," Murphy said.
As a full time part of the county's mounted unit, Murphy makes sure horses like Hercules keep their cool in chaotic circumstances using stature alone to make a point.
"You've got a 10 foot tall cop sitting there. You're a lot easier for people to see," he said.
If tensions in the city escalate, Hercules may deliver some county pushback.
"He enjoys that, he'll rub you with his nose. He'll bump into you," Murphy said.
In general, the horses keep the peace by extending a down home friendliness.
"People bring their kids up to you, and you can talk to them in a non-law enforcement role,” Ives said.
If they have any nerves about the big city gig the animals don't show it. It is another job before returning to their home in El Paso County, and stepping back off the beaten path.
The county's entire mounted unit staff of six deputies on horseback will report to Denver and be on duty for the duration of the DNC.
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