Lexington Police Department raising money in hopes of saddling up

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) -The new Lexington Police Mounted Unit is raising money in the hopes of saddling up soon.

Jasper and Buddy are donated horses for the new Lexington Police Mounted Unit. Gabriella Jones says it took her a while after she moved to feel a part of the community. She donated Jasper in hopes of creating unity.

“He has already had the good experience needed for these officers who may not have any horse experience,” said Jones. “They can come in and feel safe on him because he definitely picks up on what rider is on him.”

During a fundraiser Thursday, people were able to pet and feed the animals. Police Chief Angela Greene says the department is $20 thousand short of its overall goal to get the mounted unit activated.

“The money that we are raising is to make sure that we always have money available for any emergency situations, the food, the care of the horses,” said Greene.

Once the money is raised, the unit will train for about a year.

“Having an officer on a horse gives us that 10-foot advantage,” explained Greene. “We see much further, and we cover much more distance than individuals on foot.”

Greene says she’s ready to ride Jasper. The horses attract community members to interact with officers.

“Pet the horses, touch the horses. What’s the horse’s name? What do you feed them?” added Greene. “Then we start with our conversation, and they start realizing that officers are human beings. It makes us much more approachable.”

Michael Blouin took his daughter to meet the horses as a surprise. He thinks this is a great idea for the small town.

“Kids alone in the community will be a lot more open and interest in talking to them,” said Blouin. “It makes them more connected.”

You can donate by visiting the department in person or calling them.