Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers team up with Sparks Police Department’s Mounted Unit for horse and rider rescue drill

Reno, NV… Volunteers from the Specialized Vehicle Unit of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team felt they needed a better understanding of how to work with horses during, or as part of, their missions. So they turned to the Sparks Police Department’s Horse Mounted Unit and asked if they could collaborate on a training exercise. The Sparks Mounted Unit agreed.

On Wednesday, July 31, the two agencies will participate in a joint training scenario in which Specialized Vehicle Unit members will use ATVs to respond to a report of a saddled horse running loose in the hills above Sparks. Their mission: locate and safely secure the distressed horse and, if possible, locate and rescue the injured rider (which will be portrayed by a mannequin).

Sparks Mayor Geno Martini, Washoe County Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek and Assistant Sheriff Darin Balaam are scheduled to observe this cooperative, multi-agency operation that will provide Sheriff volunteers with a unique training opportunity.

What: Horse Rescue Drill with Washoe County Sheriff’s Specialized Vehicle Unit volunteers and the Sparks Police Department’s Horse Mounted Unit.

When: Starts between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.

Where: Staging at Salomon Circle and Brierley Way, just east of Vista Boulevard, Sparks.

Media Contact: Bob Harmon, WCSO, (775) 771-8252

“We have had a number of call outs in the past involving horses and riders falling off horses,” Sheriff’s Office Specialized Vehicle Unit volunteer Ed Boog said. “We also come across horseback riders while out in the back country. This training will help us better understand what to do in these situations.”

Boog decided some comprehensive training simulating situations where ATVs and horses come into contact was needed to help benefit the volunteers as well as the public they serve.

“I thought the Sparks Police Department’s Mounted Unit would be the ideal partner in this effort, and they enthusiastically agreed,” Boog said.

Washoe County Search and Rescue is a self-funded, volunteer organization. There is never a charge for their rescue services. During the last fiscal year, the Specialized Vehicle Unit responded to 91 missions totaling 1949 hours. Volunteers also contributed 1047 training hours and 1133 hours of community service.

The majority of the Specialized Vehicle Unit’s members are ATV Certified. They use personally owned ATV’s and UTV’s to assist in searches for missing and lost subjects, overdue hunters, plane crashes, and people in stranded vehicles. All ATV members must go through a day-long P.O.S.T. ATV Certification class.

For more information about becoming a volunteer for Washoe County Search and Rescue, visit and click the link under “Get Involved”