EL CENTRO – Imperial Valley law enforcement officers from all over came together Saturday and participated in a 24-mile relay run to honor fallen officers during National Police Week. Members from the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department, Border Patrol, BORSTAR, Police Departments, California Highway Patrol, and Narcotics Task Force joined the run that began at 6 a.m. sharp and consisted of 11 ten-man teams.
Fellow agents cheered runners in with claps, whistles, and applause, as teams completed the loop, ending where they began at the El Centro Border Patrol Sector.
The El Centro Border Patrol Search and Rescue (BORSTAR) team claimed first place for the third year in a row, after completing the 24-mile loop in two hours, 43 minutes, and 58 seconds.
Justin Dorsey of BORSTAR quipped, “We may have finished first, but everyone who participated is a winner.”
Each team passed a baton engraved with a deceased officer’s name of their choice. After the race, the batons were sent to the family of the fallen officer, with a letter of condolence for their loss.The BORSTAR team ran in honor of Texas Agent Brayana Ivette Fayatt, the most recent deceased Border Patrol agent. Fayatt battled Stage IV Metastatic Ocular Melanoma before passing away earlier this year.
“It felt good to run for the family, and show them that people still remember,” Dorsey said.
Angela Hernandez, Supervisory Border Patrol agent, who is in charge of the race said, “It is a great way to honor those (we’ve) lost, and let their families know we care and are here to support.”
This is the sixth annual race, and one of the more unique races, Hernandez said.
“This year we have a team of retired officers as well as an all female team. That is a first for us,” she said.
All teams are co-ed, following a minimum one-female rule, to ensure equality between all participants, Hernandez explained.
The Border Patrol sweeped the awards stage with teams claiming first, second, and third place. Calexico Border Patrol finished at a close second, with a time of two hours, 54 minutes, and 21 seconds. Hernandez’s team, Border Patrol’s “Crossfit Pistoleros,” came in third, finishing in three hours, four minutes, and 16 seconds.
Even though the purpose of the race is to honor those fallen, many teams still take it seriously.
“As law enforcement, it gets competitive,” Hernandez laughed.
Six years ago, after completing a similar race in Las Vegas, Hernandez was asked to bring the idea down here, she said. Since then, the race has become a tradition that the Valley’s law enforcement looks forward to.
“This is the first year to include military and fire (departments),” Hernandez said. “Hopefully next year we can have representatives from everyone.”
Hernandez’s team ran in honor of her father, the late retired Border Patrol Field Operation’s Supervisor Mario Hernandez, who passed away a year and a half ago.