Auxiliary hopes to financially assist WCSO Mounted Unit

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 4:41 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Washoe County Sheriff Detective Toddi Fitzmier collects her horse Lacey to saddle up for the Sheriff’s Mounted Unit. While Toddi has been on the unit for six years, Lacey has been working for two years. The training does not happen overnight.

“We had to take her through a school,” says Detective Fitzmier. “The school certifies the rider, but it is also a weeklong desensitization for the horses. And from there, you can see if you horse is going to be ready. We do training, smoke bombs, things like that get them used to smoke flares,” she says.

Fitzmier and Lacey are one of nine members on the mounted unit.

Recently, we caught up with a collaborative effort between Washoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Sparks Police Mounted unit. The event: Hot August Nights.

The group can patrol the area, asking questions or giving directions. They can get a better view of the area and take care of potential crimes before they happen.

What is not well known, the deputies in many cases patrol horseback after a full shift. And all the expenses that go with owning and riding their own horses come out of their pocket.

“The hoofs, to maintain them is us,” says Fitzmier. “The vet, the vaccines, the floating the teeth. That’s all us,” she says.

Such dedication should be recognized and assisted.

At least that’s what Juliene Allman thinks. She’s in the process of forming the Washoe County Horse Unit Auxiliary, a 501C3. The non-profit will help the unit defray the costs associated with being a part of the Sheriff’s Mounted Unit.

“To me it is a symbol of Nevada and our way of life,” says Allman, who is President of the Washoe County Mounted Horse Unit Auxiliary. “And I really want them to continue for a long time. I don’t want the cost to be a hinderance for units from continuing,” she says.

Allman says one major concern is vet bills associated with a horse being injured on the job.

She says money could be raised by events, education programs, and merchandise--keeping the mounted unit healthy, not only from a medical standpoint, but a financial one as well.

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