Thomas Bradley / Lantern reporter
Ohio State police officers tried their hand at handling and working with dairy and beef cattle as well as horses in a student- and faculty-led training session Wednesday morning.
The first annual Animal Control Technique (ACT) clinic gave police officers the chance to develop first-hand experience with large animal livestock.
“We decided to hold this program because events last year really brought to light that loose animal incidents were difficult to contain since many people just don’t know that much about handling large animals,” said Stephanie Neal, a fourth-year in animal sciences and ACT coordinator.
Working in small groups, each with their own student assistant, officers practiced learning to put a halter on and walk dairy cows and horses and “corral,” or move, larger groups of beef cattle.
“For me, the most beneficial thing learned was a better understanding of animal behavior and human stimuli,” said OSU Police Chief Paul Denton.
Dan Rhodeback, manager of the OSU Horse Center on Sawmill Road, demonstrated the concept to several officers with the assistance of his quarter horse, Cassie. According to the American Quarter Horse Association, a quarter horse is a muscular horse that runs short distances at high speed.
The OSU Police Department approved ACT as a Continuing Education credit for officers attending, and it was a chance for officers to gain hands-on experience with livestock.
“We’re in an urban setting and not all police agencies have this kind of resource and expertise at hand to tap into,” Denton said.
Deputy Chief Richard Morman said ACT allowed campus police to take advantage of the resources at hand.
“Agencies from other parts of the state come to this university (to) get updates or gain knowledge, but sometimes we forget it’s in our own backyard,” Morman said.
Stephen Boyles and Maurice Eastridge were among the animal sciences professors who shared their background and expertise in animal handling with officers in the instance of facing a loose animal situation.
“I think we now have the knowledge, tools and the experience to be able to better plan an appropriate response,” Denton said.
The Lantern reported April 21, 2010 that two cows being transported to OSU’s Veterinary Hospital escaped and caused a chaotic two-hour round-up on the campus athletic fields next to Lincoln Tower.
OSU police and university officials used at least seven police cars, a university tractor, a cattle prod and tranquilizers to corral the cattle.
Neal said it is the inter-departmental collaboration that will allow success in the future.
“Just being able to create an atmosphere of teamwork between OSU Police and Public Safety, the Animal Sciences department and Veterinary Hospital, we’ll be able to better work together to handle any livestock-related events campus-wide,” Neal said.
For a university that has a College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences fully equipped with dairy, beef, swine, sheep, horse and poultry research facilities, officers said they left feeling more equipped personally to bring the cows home.
“In public safety and policing we face the unexpected everyday and you can never train or practice too much,” Denton said. “This is just one more area that we can train and practice for.”