Ed Park loves being around people and he loves his horses. Those two loves are united in his volunteer job as a mounted sheriff’s deputy.“It’s special when someone comes up and asks to smell the horse,” said Park who, along with other volunteer presenters elaborated on their roles, duties and responsibilities with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office during the last day of the Citizen’s Academy. The academy is put on three times a year by the sheriff’s office, with the next one planned in February.People who grew up with horses miss the horse and hay smell, Park said, adding that at times they might be the ones causing trouble at some crowded event — but the presence of a deputy on a horse that can weigh more than 1,000 pounds has an incredible calming effect.“People who are around horses are usually very well-behaved,” he said.Park must certify once a year through a week-long course, but said his dedication to preparing his horses and to their well-being goes far beyond the 40-hour-long course.Park also said he might not have gone into law enforcement had it not been for the prospect of working as a mounted deputy.“I love being with my horses and I love being around people,” he said, adding that properly trained horses do well in such circumstances. “They love being in public,” he said.The volunteers’ newest chaplain, James Stogner, took the floor after Park, addressing the academy participants in a booming voice.“We wind up being a support to the officers,” he said, adding that the sheriff’s four volunteer chaplains are like triage nurses for psyches.“You figure out who is hurt the most,” along with who needs to be passed off to other responders, he said.Ultimately, a chaplain’s job is about mortality, something that some may hide from.“A lot of people die, that’s just what happens,” Stogner said. “We always use the word dead or die.”In the end, whether it’s about one’s own mortality or emotional well-being, it all comes down to interpersonal relationships.“It’s about helping people in our community,” he said.The final volunteer to present, Search and Rescue Commander Nino Iannacchione, talked about the ins and outs of his team members and how they work together with the fire department. “We get maybe one to two calls a month,” he said, adding that some of those calls are to assist Washoe, Storey, Douglas or other surrounding counties.Search and Rescue team members have a minimum training of 20 hours a year, although most members do much more than the minimum required on their own time.“The volunteers do so much on their own that it’s just amazing,” Sheriff Ken Furlong said.Anyone wishing to volunteer with the sheriff’s office can contact Volunteer Coordinator Ken Smith at 775-887-2020, extension 41932.
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