The Howard County Police Foundation Police Pace 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run raised approximately $50,000, a new record for the 22-year-old event.
According to co-chairs Kyri Jacobs and Cpl. Perry Thorsvik, the Sept. 8 event at Centennial Park in Ellicott City outpaced the 2012 run, which set the previous record of approximately $30,000.
"Every year it gets bigger and better," Thorsvik said. "This is a community event. Everyone wants to be here and everybody looks forward to it."
The Police Pace is the largest fundraiser by the nonprofit Howard County Police Foundation. Jacobs said the majority of the money raised benefits families of Howard County police officers injured or killed in the line of duty. Since the event began, two Howard County officers have died. In 2007, Cpl. Scott Wheeler was killed after being struck by a car during a traffic stop. In 1994, Recruit Ofc. Roger D. Cassell Jr. died following a training exercise at the academy.
Howard police chief Bill McMahon said the run was a dual-purpose event.
"It has a couple benefits for us," he said. "It generates funds for the officers and it's a tremendous show of community support."
McMahon added that the 1,018 participants, as well as corporate sponsorships, are integral to the success of the event, and, in turn, the department.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said the event symbolizes the broad support the community has for the department.
"It sends an important message," Ulman said. "Communities that make the statement 'We support our officers,' are stronger communities."
In his address to the crowd, Ulman remarked on the county's recent accolades for its high standard of living, most notably being named by CNN and Money Magazine as a top 10 community in the nation. Ulman noted, as he has on other occasions, the role of police in that achievement.
"We are very proud of the quality of life in this community," he said. "I say often, and I'll say it again, none of it matters if we're not safe."
Arleen Dinneen, 70, of Ellicott City, who was recognized for the best time in the women's over 70 division, said Ulman was spot on with is comments.
"He's absolutely right," said Dinneen."I've lived here for 44 years and I feel safe. All these things that make living here so wonderful would not be possible without the police department."
Ulman, McMahon and others also noted that the event provides an opportunity for the community to get to know police in a friendly environment.
"We all look the same with running shorts on," Thorsvik said smiling.
"Kids grow up knowing police officers are our friends," Ulman said. "We shouldn't take that for granted here, because not every community has that relationship."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun