Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

June 7, 2005 > Fremont police run to Vegas

Fremont police run to Vegas

by Lance Dwyer

A high standard of excellence is routine for the Fremont Police Department. This pursuit of distinctive service to the community even extends beyond Fremont. Over the past 15 years, the Fremont Police Department (FPD) has participated in the "Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay Race," a prestigious world-wide contest they have won in their division, 10 times. Even though prizes are minimal for winners-a mug in fact-Captain Robert Nelson said it might as well be made out of gold.

"It's such a difficult race, finishing is a big enough accomplishment, but we've very much dominated over the years," said Nelson.

Nelson attributes the FPD's success to the athleticism of their staff as well as their hard work and dedication. All participants train for the entire year on their own time in order to be prepared for the race.

One hundred twenty miles of forbidding desert and mountains separate Baker, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Law enforcement teams travel the distance by relay of 20 runners over approximately 15 hours. Teams are classified by department size and begin on a staggered schedule. The race began at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23 in Baker, Calif. and concluded Sunday morning in Las Vegas. The race offers its runners a host of challenges, including uphill treks and weather conditions that can be blistering hot one year and cold to the point of snow another.

Baker to Vegas began 21 years ago as a competition between the Los Angeles SWAT team and the Los Angeles Country Sheriff's SWAT team but has since grown to include 250 teams that come from all over the country and sometimes other countries. Competition is divided into 10 different divisions based on department size. The FPD has dominated the "300 registered officers and below" division over the past 15 years.

Nelson said that the FPD's success brings along with it an incredible sense of pride. Everyone takes the competition very seriously, including Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman who attended the competition as a volunteer.

The race is much more than a weekend, said Nelson, as each victory does not just represent the 20 runners who participate but also the 40 other volunteers who come along for the cause. Throughout every mile of the race, volunteers must drive alongside the runners to provide shuttle service after he or she has completed their portion of the race and offer immediate first-aid, if needed.

FPD 2005 Baker to Vegas Team:

Captain - Robert Nelson
Runners - Gus Arroyo, Sean Brannon, Julie Cochran, Jason Franchi, Joe Geibig, Frank Grgurina, John Harnett, Dan Harvey, Clarise Lew, Rod Little, John Liu, Rich Lucero, Ramin Mahboobi, Paul McCormick, Tom Mikkelsen, Caroline Montalbo, Tony Morales, Jason Reichers, Matt Snelson, Sean Washington.

Sponsors that helped make this year's Fremont Police Department entry possible included BFI, Unitech, Fremont Bank, Magnum Dry Wall and Hertz Rent-A-Car.

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