CARLSBAD — A procession of about 150 uniformed and plain-clothed peace officers ran along Carlsbad Boulevard on May 14 in the 20th Annual Peace Officers Memorial Run to honor the lives of those lost in the line of duty within the past year.
Carlsbad SWAT team agents led the group of runners as a police motorcycle led the way for a few emergency vehicles that also joined the event to show their support.
At about 10 a.m. the run had finished, and 25 T-Shirts had been sold, at $10 each, but the event wasn’t held as a fundraiser, yet as a 2.5-mile run where peace officers from a variety of agencies gathered during the cool, misty morning to jog the distance and show their support for fellow officers who had died.
“We really want to focus on the fallen brothers and sisters,” said Officer Adam Young, of the Carlsbad Police Department, who has organized the event for the past three years.
He said that to be able to block of the streets and reserve special parking spaces for attendees that he had to follow the same process as one does in organizing major races held in the city, such as the Carlsbad 5000.
A city permit was just one of the things required for the run to take place, he said.
At 9 a.m. the runners gathered at Cannon Park, some of them with family members, and the run kicked-off after brief speeches by Carlsbad’s Chief of Police Gary W. Morrison, and National City Police Chief Adolfo Gonzales.
Military personnel, agents from the Navel Criminal Investigative Service, Oceanside Police, Oceanside Police Explorers, San Diego County Sheriff’s, the U.S. Coast Guard, San Diego Police Department and officers and Special Weapons and Tactics team members from the Carlsbad Police Department were some of the participants ready to take off running.
“It wasn’t meant to be a race. The idea was to remember those who were lost and also for a bit of camaraderie,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Nagie of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Nagie said that for the Coast Guard, the day was to honor a fellow Coast Guard member in New York who had lost his life during a training exercise last October.
“We did this today to commemorate a fellow Coast Guard member from New York; to remember him and help recognize the losses of our fellow officers from California,” he said.
Petty Officer Shaun Lin died while training at the James River in Virginia in October 2010, according to reports.
“He’s being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.” Nagie said.
Locally, the memorial run is held in conjunction with California Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and National Peace Officers’ Week, and Young said different events take place throughout May.
Young said the Carlsbad’s annual run inaugurated 20 years ago in 1991, after Officer William (Billy) Robert Jack was killed in a motorcycle accident while directing traffic.
The lost life of San Diego Police Department Officer Christopher Wilson on Oct. 28, 2010, was a huge loss to the community this past year, he said.
Wilson, 50, died in the line of duty on Oct. 28, 2010, when he was killed during a gun battle at an apartment in the Skyline area that he was at with other officers. He was a 17-year veteran.
The list of peace officers who were killed while on duty wasn’t exclusive to Wilson, and included 13 individuals whose lives came to an end in the line of duty within the past year of the Annual Memorial Run.
A memorial board was on display at the park during the run, and had pictures of the 13 fallen officers.
That list of California officers included:
Sgt. Ira Essoe, Sr., of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, End of Watch: Feb. 4, 2010.
Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier, of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, End of Watch: Feb. 25, 2010.
Deputy Ken Collier, of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, End of Watch: Feb. 28, 2010.
Officer Javier Bejar, of the Reedley Police Department, End of Watch: March 1, 2010.
Officer Daniel Benavides, of the California Highway Patrol, Border Division, End of Watch: May 7, 2010.
Officer Thomas Coleman, of the California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino, End of Watch: June 11, 2010.
Officer Philip Ortiz, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles, End of Watch: June 22, 2010.
Officer Justin McGrory, California Highway Patrol, Barstow, End of Watch: June 27, 2010.
Officer Brett Oswald, California Highway Patrol, Templeton, End of Watch: June 27, 2010.
Officer Christopher Wilson, San Diego Police Department, End of Watch: Oct. 28, 2010.
Officer Ryan Bonaminio, Riverside Police Department, End of Watch: Nov. 7, 2010.
Officer Jermaine Anthony Gibson, Cathedral City Police Department, End of Watch: March 18, 2011.
Officer Thomas Adams, California Highway Patrol, Garberville, End of Watch: Feb. 15, 2011.
Young said that it was touching to see the people from different agencies who attended the run, who, each day in their jobs invest in serving their communities.