CLEVELAND - Hundreds gathered on Sunday morning in downtown Cleveland to honor police officers killed in the line of duty and to show appreciation for those protecting our communities.
The Cleveland Officers Down 5K race took off at 10 a.m. at the Police Memorial located on Lakeside Avenue and West 3rd Street in downtown Cleveland.
The race was preceded by a police procession featuring cruisers, motorcycles and tactical vehicles from several area departments.
A few months ago, the group hosted the 2nd Annual Pittsburgh Officers Down 5K during National Police Week. Since then, organizer TJ Burke decided to expand The Officers Down 5K nationwide and chose Cleveland as the next stop with plans to host Buffalo and Naples Officers Down in 2014.
Burke said he chose Cleveland as the next stop because his family are die-hard Browns fans and also Cleveland has great community support and a strong Police force.
"One of the reasons I created the OD5K is to honor remember officers on just a day, not just when one is killed. You always hear the negatives not the positives about police. Our goal every day is to make it home to our families at the end of the day," said Burke.
Middlefield Police Officer Erin Thomas was chosen as a beneficiary at The Cleveland Officers Down 5K, said Burke. She was one of two Middlefield Police officers involved in a shooting in March 2013.
Other beneficiaries of the race include the Officer Down Memorial Page and The Wounded Officers Project.