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Community turns out for 5K run to support Lodi police officers

Approximately 150 runners and walkers came out to show their support for local law enforcement early Saturday morning at Calturas Winery and Brewery in Lodi.

Adults and children, several local mascots and a group of law enforcement officers — running in full uniform and gear — completed the 5K race under a clear blue sky.

The race and event raised funds for the Lodi Police Foundation, which this year will use the money to replace old helmets in the department.

Organizers were mum Tuesday about how much was raised. Curious minds will have to wait to find out until November.

“We will not reveal the amount until the unveiling at the city council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when we present the money raised to the Lodi Police Foundation,” said June Aaker, of Lodi Citizens in Action.

Kristen Millard, founder of Blue Angel of Hope, and her son were busy after the event handing out bracelets to members of the Discovery Challenge Academy.

The academy volunteers had been helping runners along the route, as well as helping to direct traffic around the event.

While handing out the bracelets, Millard told the group about her nonprofit.

“This nonprofit was started to support law enforcement, and when an officer goes down in the line of duty — whether they were shot and killed, or injured — I immediately get flags sent out to the department and ask them to please pass them on to the family, to let them know that people care,” she said. “The kids that are getting left behind, it’s just not right.” Free children’s games, free vendor booths, “cop-corn,” free cotton candy and a cop photo booth were available for the younger visitors at Heroes Behind the Badge.

A mascot race and a quarter-mile race for the youngest participants also took place.

“The No. 1 reason for this event is to build relationships between law enforcement and the community,” Aaker said. “With the negative media starting in 2015 and prior, Lodi Citizens in Action were totally disgusted by it, and wanted to bring the community together with its law enforcement to build relationships.”

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