Deputy Steven Fernandes from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office

Written By Darin Ryburn

Written By Darin Ryburn

Published May 17, 2018

Deputy Steven Fernandes from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is participating in this fundraising event for the Northern California Special Olympics. Deputy Fernandes is joining other local Law Enforcement Officers in raising funds for the Special Olympics. This is Deputy Fernandes’s second year participating in this event which has become a very popular event which takes place at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville.

This is PiP from the beginning, the second year in 2012. We started with nine drivers, racing track owned cars and raised $7500.00 for Special Olympics Northern California. Fast forward to 2017, with 19 drivers with their own race cars who have raised more than $36,000.00 for SONC. “See you on the track, skag – The Goose in “Mad Max.”

“Police in Pursuit” (PiP) is a fundraising event benefitting Special Olympics of Northern California (SONC). It is a car race by Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s) throughout Northern California and takes place at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. LEO’s are the largest grassroots fundraisers for all of Special Olympics. LEO’s started the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) in 1981 and continues to raise money and awareness for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. PiP started in 2010 with LEO’s racing 4-banger race cars owned by Ocean Speedway. Nine (9) LEO’s from Santa Cruz County raised approximately 7K dollars for SONC. Prior to the 2012 season, the 4-bangers were sold and no longer available for our event. LEO’s had to find cars to race the 2012 season. Some retired patrol cars were purchased from city auctions, but most cars were donated by some very generous tow companies in Santa Cruz County.

The premise of PiP is to have LEO’s racing cars that represent their department’s patrol car paint and decal scheme. Emergency lights add to the fanfare. Each LEO driver raises a minimum of $750.00 as an entry fee. A web-based donation page is set up for each driver. The starting position for the race is based on who raises the most money and therefore most drivers try to raise more money than the other drivers. In 2017, there were eighteen drivers representing nine (9) LE agencies and the event raised more than 36K dollars for SONC. The event is growing each year and is a crowd favorite. So much so that, the track promoter has given us five additional races for the year and our own point series. The driver looks for sponsors each year to help with maintenance, safety measures (roll cage, seat, and harness) and keeping the car race ready.

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