California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 5

After only two hours of racing, their goal of completing the endurance challenge in six days and 18 hours already was in jeopardy. Officers from the California Highway Patrol helped them with their broken-down van, which caused a 2½-hour delay for Braziel and his riding team. Then, on Day 2, a rider fell ill – shrinking one team to three. That rider was out of commission for two days. On Day 3, the same rider van overheated and broke down again. Later, one team had to take a 120-mile detour when a fatal accident shut down a road, forcing the other team of four to cycle 16 hours that day – six hours more than the planned daily amount of 10 hours per team. Tears would flow when members of Team SacPD visited the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. “It was a very moving experience,” Braziel said. The officers then presented Craig W. Floyd, chairman and chief executive of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, with a directory containing the names of the 19,298 officers killed in the line of duty. “ We knew that all the hard work and training we put into this was worthwhile when we saw those names But the weather was great along the route, and everywhere they went, Team SacPD was cheered by enthusiastic supporters. After all, the team was somewhat famous since word got out that all the riders were cops. A crew filming a documentary kept close watch on Braziel and his fellow officers. Lack of sleep made the riders punchy, but they kept at it. For inspiration, they sometimes would look at their “Heroes Live Forever” bracelets and reflected on their team motto, “In Valor there is Hope.” And when they crossed the finish line in Annapolis, Md., on June 24, Braziel and his teammates erupted in whoops and cheers. Their finish time was 6 days, 6 hours and 8 minutes– a full 12 hours ahead of their goal. ” And members of Team SacPD then remembered why they all got on their bikes in the first place to take on such a grueling challenge. “We knew that all the hard work and training we put into this was worthwhile when we saw those names,” said Braziel, who has been chief of the Sacramento PD for four years. “It really reinforced the point of our mission.” The Race Across America was Team SacPD’s first major undertaking. It won’t be their last. Braziel already is starting to line up donors for next year’s race, including the California Police Chiefs Association, which sponsored Team SacPD in this year’s Race Across America. Each team has to raise about $50,000 to cover race entry fees, vehicles, gas, hotels, plane tickets and other expenses. Small change, Braziel believes, for such a huge cause. • “We did a lot better then we thought we would. Averaging 20MPH with all the climbing was huge for us,” Braziel said. Fall 2011 |