DAPO's team in the Baker to Vegas run placed 150 out of more than 300 teams.

DAPO’s team in the Baker to Vegas run placed 150 out of more than 300 teams.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

The Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) fronted a team in the 32nd annual Baker to Vegas Relay, a run sporting over 8,000 law enforcement officers from around the country.

DAPO’s team placed 150 out of more than 300 on March 19. The run covers 120 miles of pavement.

Other CDCR teams who laced up their running shoes hailed from California Institution for Men, California Correctional Institution and the Division of Juvenile Justice.

There was a lot of hard work by the team captains Parole Agent III Angela Wilson, agents Tina Rivero, Rick Audet and Mireya Audet as well as the volunteers, sponsors and runners, according to the DAPO team organizers.

Runners had been training on their own time to be ready to run an average of six miles daily at odd hours.

“It is a lot of work and pretty much requires year-round focus,” said Agent Mireya Audet. “Funding is the most important. It takes an average of $5,000 to $8,000 to get your team across the finish line and that doesn’t include the cost of the officers paying for their hotel rooms.”

She said building and funding the team is key.

“Logistically you have to form your run plan and it’s different for every team. It’s quite involved for us. We were sponsored by the California Staff Assault Task Force and that helped with the entry fee which is $2,100 and the rental of the vehicles so we could shuttle our runners,” she said.

She said the entire run is difficult and it could be sweltering hot in the middle of the afternoon or freezing at the top of a pass in the dark.

“Every leg poses a challenge. It’s grueling at every level and a lot of the legs are uphill. The most challenging other than the inclement weather, is you don’t know where you’re at,” she said. “The landscape in the desert could be deceiving. You have a follow vehicle behind you so it’s definitely not your average run.”

Agent Audet is passionate about the run and is proud of the agents who participated. She emphasized this was a unified team, comprising agents in the northern and southern regions of the state. Training proved difficult because of the distance, ultimately to become part of a team with people they’ve never met.

“All of our runners were parole agents from across the state. We had 23 runners and with support staff, we were a 30-man team. The volunteers play a vital role in this. They are in our chase vehicles so if a runner goes down, they are our first medical responders,” she said. “It’s one of the only runs that celebrates our profession. Team work is strongly emphasized. It’s a memorial for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

Agent Audet said the hard work pays off in the end.

“I think the event is great,” she said. “It requires a lot of work but the rewards outweigh all of that.”