Bay Area officers to run Dallas Marathon in uniform to honor fallen comrades

- 20 law enforcement officers from the Bay Area are doing something unique this weekend to honor their fallen comrades.

They're running in the Dallas Marathon. To pay tribute to the five officers killed in Dallas this summer and for all officers killed in the line of duty.

On the Bay Trail at the San Leandro Marina, a group of law enforcement officers are training to run the 26-mile Dallas Marathon.

"We see a lot of death a lot of violence," says Sergeant Ryan Gill with San Leandro Police. 

The officers have been training for months. They plan to wear their uniforms when they run the marathon in Dallas. They want to feel discomfort.

"It symbolizes the pain and discomfort that this profession is evolving through right now.  It symbolizes the pain and discomfort that the officers who've sacrificed felt on their chosen days," says Gill.  

Service and sacrifice is a badge they wear proudly.  But the inherent dangers of the thin blue line bring added stress.
   
"I found running.  That's why I've gathered all these police officers to give them a way to cope, to show them there are ways we can cope and process what we've seen," says Gill.
   
He says processing loss has been constant.  He was friends with the four Oakland police officers killed February 2009. 
Then in July 2015, another officer he worked with, Scott Lunger of Hayward, was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

This summer, when five officers were killed in Dallas in an ambush, it was a breaking point.

"I just don't know how our families deal with this," says Gill.

Gill points to an incident on October 16th in Vallejo:  A gunman targets officers at a coffee shop.  Gill says the fear of ambush is ever present.

"We go to work and we halfway expect that it's going to happen. We go to an incident.  We get nervous and scared and this might be it," says Gill.

Gill says he is on guard even when off duty.

"I've had people show up at my house that knew who I was.  My family has a plan for what to do if somebody comes after daddy," says Gill. 

For rookie Alex Perez-Rojas, a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, the current anti-police climate was not a deterrent but a challenge.

And running the marathon in uniform sends a message.

"Just because we wear a badge and a gun doesn't mean we're robots.  We have families. We have feelings. We have goals," says Perez-Rojas. 

Gill tells KTVU there will be about 20 officers running with him in Dallas.

Alameda County Sheriff's deputy Sierra Scalise says for her, law enforcement work was a calling from childhood.

"We're relentless, very brave.  We represent a very strong force.  Our families and the communities that we serve," says Scalise. 

"I love serving the community. I love seeing little kids wave at me.  I love everything about it.  It's my opportunity to give back before my time is done," says Gill.

The Dallas Marathon is set for Sunday. 
The Bay Area officers say their fallen brothers and sister will be with them every step of the way.
   
Gill says family members and supporters will join them in Dallas bringing his contingent to about 50 people.

He calls it the journey of a lifetime.
 

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