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CSU Police Join Forces for 'Baker to Vegas'

Elizabeth Chapin


​The CSUPD Running Team won the "500 Invitational" division at the 2017 Baker to Vegas/Challenge Cup Relay.​


​​​​ Every spring, thousands of police officers compete in the Baker to Vegas/Challenge Cup Relay, a grueling race through the desert from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The race is a one-day, 20-stage, 120-mile trek. Los Angeles Police Department officers started it more than 30 years ago, hosting 19 teams. Now, the race hosts 280 teams that represent branches of law enforcement from all over the world.

The CSU Police Department Running Team, composed of sworn and civilian CSU police employees and support staff from throughout the state, has been competing for the last 19 years.

The team, consisting of 24 runners and 30 volunteers from 18 of the 23 CSU campuses, has become a force to be reckoned with. At this year's contest held on March 25-26, they took home their third division championship in six years. 

Only bragging rights and a trophy mug come with the win, but they are just a byproduct of the team's main goal: to unify campus police throughout the CSU system.

"Deep friendships and relationships have developed over the years amongst all ranks between members of different CSU campuses from around the state," said CSU Channel Islands Officer Arnie Camp, who serves as team captain. "Most of us don't have many opportunities to interact with our CSU counterparts, but once a year, we come together to compete as a unified team."

Teamwork is essential to finishing the challenging race. As each runner completes his or her "leg," or stage of the race, volunteers help them reach the finish line. They provide communication support and monitor the runners for injuries or heat-related illnesses. The runners can experience harsh desert conditions, with temperatures in excess of 120 degrees during the day, to sub-freezing at night.

In their competitive division, the "500 Invitational," the CSU team was up against 32 other teams representing police departments with up to 500 officers. This included departments from the cities of Riverside, Pomona and Pasadena.

"It's a point of pride because we accomplished our goals together as one while at the same time beating some very good teams," said CSU Long Beach Captain Chris Schivley, who ran the first leg of the race.

To remain competitive, the team must keep an eye on fitness levels year-round. It's an added bonus for the law enforcement officers who maintain their physical fitness as it impacts their service and safety.

"It's a win-win all around," said Camp. "Bringing everyone together from across the state develops a strong sense of unity, which hopefully gives individuals a greater sense of accomplishment and purpose when they show up for work." 

The CSUPD Running Team is completely volunteer-​based, so runners and support staff use their own time and money to compete. They also rely on generous donations and sponsorships. Learn more about the team at  ​​