More than 250 people gathered at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center late Sunday afternoon to celebrate the Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit’s new headquarters and raise funds to fill unmet needs of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
The nonprofit Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse held the Old Fashioned Barn Raising Dedication for the headquarters, named the Hilf-Douglas Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Mounted Unit Stable in honor of two donors primarily responsible for making the new facility a reality.
Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse President Richard Kline, who served as master of ceremonies, singled out their contribution as he thanked the major donors who supported the project.
“We want to especially thank Santa Barbara-based Peter Hilf of the MacDonald Family Foundation and Peter Douglas of the Peter Douglas Foundation,” Kline said. “The generosity of these two community-spirited foundations and individuals should be recognized and applauded by every resident of Santa Barbara County.”
Wagons transported guests to the western-themed event on North Refugio Road, where they got a look at the new barn and training area, watched demonstrations by the Mounted Unit, K-9 Unit and Bomb Squad, listened to music by the Honeysuckle Possums, were served dinner by Billy Ruiz’s Cowboy Flavor and participated in live and silent auctions.
The event raised more than $40,000 for the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse, which assists the Sheriff’s Office by filling urgent needs not funded by the county budget.
“In the days of old, a posse of citizens helped the Sheriff’s Office apprehend criminals or protect citizens from disasters,” Sheriff Bill Brown told the assembled guests. “Today’s Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse helps the Sheriff’s Office in a different way, financially.
“They provide funding for resources that would otherwise be unattainable by the county budget,” Brown said. "We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who have supported us so generously in this and other endeavors."
The Sheriff’s Office began looking for a new headquarters for the Mounted Enforcement Unit in 2014 when its lease on a state-owned property in Lompoc was not renewed.
Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center offered its location at 195 N. Refugio Road for a new headquarters, Kline said, and the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse began raising money for a new barn.
Several major donors stepped up to fund the project, and a barn was donated, relocated to the site and then completely refurbished, he said.