Fresno's Mounted Patrol gallops on but for how long?

FRESNO, Calif.

Two weeks ago the future of the Fresno Mounted Patrol was uncertain.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster up and down whether you're going to be there or not going to be there. I have horses to ride but I hate to see the unit go," said Captain Terry Beaver.

Beaver is one of seven reserve officers with this unit. That's his horse Flame. Beaver volunteers his time up to three days out of the week to patrol crowds and serve as a public relations instrument. "The horse is like a magnet, it brings people up to you," he said.

However housing, training and veterinary bills started to choke the police department's budget. Tuesday the Fresno Regional Foundation, a philanthropic group and the River Park Association handed over a check for $30,000 to sustain the program through the end of the year.

"Even though we have more work to do. More money needs to be raised. I am confident in the future of our mounted patrol program," said police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Dyer's goal is to support the mounted unit through 2012. He said that will cost at least another $30,000. Residents we spoke to said it's worth it to feel safer out in public.

Amy Chen from Canada said, "Just in case something happens there around the corner. We know they're there."

Armona's Cheryl Flores said, "I think they're great to look at and it makes you feel secure and it's just fun."

Chief Dyer said the program was started by private donations in 1999 and hopes future donations will keep it running.

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