POWAY (CBS 8) - Sheriff's department volunteers are taking a bit out of crime by patrolling on horseback. The mounted patrol is heading out in groups to keep the peace this holiday season.
"People approach us and tell us things that they might not approach a deputy about. We're volunteers and they know that. The reaction has been fantastic," volunteer Scott Milner said.
As volunteers, they don't personally arrest anyone, but they do carry radios to immediately call deputies when they spot something suspicious.
This holiday season, all 11 members of the mounted patrol will be focusing their efforts on typical Christmastime crimes, looking for burglars and car thieves.
"They can actually get into some of the areas that are hard to get into by car, or even foot, including horse trails in East County communities," Lt. James Bovet said.
But Lt. Bovet also knows they can't be everywhere at once, so he offers a reminder.
"There are thieves out there and they're going to take advantage of everybody having presents in their homes and cars. So just take that extra step -- lock things, keep things out of sight and things will probably go well for you," he said.
Scott is a retired naval officer who hits the saddle 4 to 6 hours every week, donating his time to help make the community he loves a better place. His partner Jewels seems to feel the same way.
"I think overall she really enjoys coming out and riding the trails and street, the things that we do," he said.
The horse patrols are based out of Ramona, and spend a lot of time in that area and along the trails that lead through neighborhoods in Poway.