Hundreds run with police during charity 5K
Around 1,000 people started their day at the 4th Annual Brownsville Police Department Run with the Police at the Brownsville Sports Park. Proceeds from the 5K and 1-mile run/walk will benefit the United Way of Southern Cameron County.
Officer Manuel Montez said the mission of the event is to build the police department’s connection with residents and get people out to enjoy the morning. Officers in and out of uniform ran alongside the 5K participants.
“ It’s always good to have a good relationship with the community, especially the children, so they can always feel comfortable talking to an officer,” he said. “We’re out here running with them.”
Traci Wickett, president and CEO of the United Way of Southern Cameron County, said retired Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez approached her organization when the run was created about donating the proceeds. Rodriguez is on a United Way committee.
Last year, the event raised $10,000 for the nonprofit, she said. She said the United Way organizes snacks and water for runners, but the police handle the rest of the event.
“ When you think about it, for us with our small staff, what it takes to raise $10,000,” Wickett said, adding that Brownsville PD also takes care of the 5K’s logistics.
“ We would love to do more, but they just get it,” Wickett said. “They’re everything you would want a police department to be. They really want to foster good relationships between the police and citizens.”
Edel Cavazos, a coach at Ben Bright Elementary, said about 20 students from the school’s running club signed up for the run.
“ I know it’s for a good cause,” he said, adding that Brownsville PD often attends events and pep rallies at the school. “(Students) really look forward to coming back and helping them out.”
Saturday was the first of 10 running events the club will take part in during the school year, he added.
“ A lot of schools have running clubs to show the kids exercising is fun and running is fun,” Cavazos said. “It’s something they hopefully will keep doing their whole life and keep active.”
Stefanie Lebron, a teacher at Garden Park Elementary, attended the run with a group of Brownsville Independent School District employees.
“ I have a lot of friends and family who work for law enforcement, so I want to support them,” she said, “and also it’s a personal goal to get into fitness.”