The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department sponsors a Volunteer Mounted Unit (VMU) for citizens 18 years and older who want make a positive difference in communities throughout San Diego County. VMU patrols are the eyes and ears of the department and also function as good-will ambassadors between the department and the community.

All VMU applicants who are approved for the program attend a formal two-week academy, held several times a year, alongside Senior Volunteers. Topics covered for the include Department Orientations, Ethics and Rules of Conduct, and Radio Training.

After academy graduation, VMU members must pass a mounted qualification test on all horses they wish to use for patrol. Qualification of all patrol horses is required on an annual basis. The department does not provide horses. All VMU members must supply their own patrol horse(s).

VMU members are asked to volunteer a minimum of six hours a month by mounted training events, monthly personnel meetings, and by participating in the different types of patrol opportunities which include:
  • Urban street patrols (alleys, shopping centers, libraries, community centers, parks, commercial districts) throughout San Diego county
  • Backcountry trail and preserve patrols
  • Holiday watch patrols in commercial parking lots during the holiday season
  • Parade routes, rodeo, and fair perimeter patrols
  • Participation in law enforcement memorial services.
  • Meet and greets with law enforcement events and schools.
To qualify for the Volunteer Mounted Unit, all applicants must:
  • Be physically fit and at least 18 years of age
  • Submit a complete application
  • Have a valid California driver license and car insurance
  • Have a healthy, well-mannered horse
  • Own/maintain a livestock trailer and tow vehicle
  • Pass a complete background investigation
  • Pass the two-week Volunteer Academy
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department invites you to join the Mounted Unit. For more information e-mail