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Race honors Arizona officers killed in the line of duty

KNXV Fallen Officer 5K
Posted at 2:45 PM, Mar 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-03 19:19:24-05

PHOENIX — It's a tight-knit group, but Jeff Bacon wishes he wasn't part of it, as do the rest of its members.

Bacon is one in the sea of hundreds who took part in this year's Fallen Officer 5K. A hit-and-run driver killed Bacon's son-in-law, Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz in 2013 while he was out on an unrelated DUI stop.

Bacon says his son in law would love that 30 of his friends and family are running the race together.

"He would be proud," said Bacon. "That's why I wear this shirt to the gym three days a week in his honor."

The shirt, emblazoned with 'Raetz' across the front, is what all of his loved ones wore on Sunday. Sporting it at the gym is a proper tribute to the 29-year-old fallen officer because he was a "gym rat" Bacon said.

Three Arizona law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2018, and one already this year. Clayton Townsend, a Salt River Officer, was hit by vehicle during a traffic stop on the Loop 101 in January.

DPS trooper Tyler Edenhofer, U.S. Marshal Chase White from Tucson and Nogales officer Jesus Cordova all died in 2018.

"This is a mixed bag as far as emotions go," said Marie Dryer-Kircher, president of the organization Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), which hosted the race as a fundraiser. "If you weren't a survivor, in many instances, you wouldn't be out here and of course there's family and friends of the fallen that are out here to remember their fallen and the others."

The race started at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza and wound through downtown Phoenix. It's the largest fundraiser of the year for C.O.P.S. The money raised provides resources for surviving family members, especially helpful in those hazy days after the tragedy.

They're services Bacon said he didn't think a lot about when donated to police charities, until they were offered to his daughter.

"The C.O.P.S. organization comes in and does so much to help support families of fallen officers," he said.