Newport police do well in desert relay race

The Newport Beach Police Department cashed in bragging rights in Las Vegas this month when it claimed its 10th straight divisional win in a 120-mile relay race for law enforcement agencies.

Teams of 20 runners — plus support personnel and alternates — from 251 agencies competed in the 30th annual Baker to Vegas 120-Mile Challenge Cup Relay on March 22 and 23.

The nonstop race starts just outside Baker in the evening, heads through the Mojave Desert and ends when the teams' final runners cross the finish line in Las Vegas.

Newport's team finished in 14 hours and 54 minutes. That time was the 15th fastest among all the competing teams, which include much larger departments.

The Irvine Police Department finished the race in 16 hours and 6 minutes. That time earned its team 20th in its division and 56th overall.

Costa Mesa police typically compete in the race but didn't this year because of tight staffing and time constraints.

Newport Chief Jay Johnson credited his officers' mental and physical toughness for the department's win.

"I am very proud of all the runners as well as the dedicated support crew who truly made this team effort possible," he said in a news release.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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