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‘Beyond the Badge’ Race honors those who have given the ultimate sacrifice

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"This is so much more than a race."  

That  was the sentiment among the nearly 1,000 people who ran in the 13th annual 'Beyond the Badge 5k run and Walk'at Crown Hill Cemetery.

The race is inspired by Jason Baker, a former Marion County sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty. Baker was shot and killed after his patrol car was ambushed in 2001.

"When Jason was killed people told us that they would never forget, and when they show up year after year, I know they are keeping their promise," said Jason's father, Jerry Baker.

Baker greeted every runner as they crossed the finish line.

The proceeds from the 5K go to the Jason Baker Scholarship fund, which assists a deserving student pursuing a career in law enforcement.

"It seems fulfilling to protect this city," said high school senior Brad Gardner. He ran the race and studies public safety/law enforcement at the J. Everett Light Career Center.  Gardner says that he  hopes to one day take the oath and become an officer.

"I’m going to join an academy, whether it's the state trooper or the police academy," said Gardner.

Before the race, a ceremony commemorated those law enforcement members who died in the line of duty this past year.

"We come together to honor Jason and all the officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice," said IMPD Commander Dawn Snyder.

"This is an emotional time.  It really is incredible to see all of  these people out here," said Baker.

Organizers say there were over 800 people pre-registered for the race--a record for the annual event.

"It means so much to our officers because they see the support of the community," Rick Snyder, vice president of FOP Lodge 86.