Thousands run in Tampa Police Memorial 5K

The streets of downtown Tampa were filled with nearly 2,000 runners on Saturday for the annual Tampa Police Memorial Run.

The 5K run and 1 mile walk began in October of 1998 to raise money for the Tampa Police Memorial outside police headquarters on Franklin Street. The purpose of the event has expand to raising awareness of the daily commitment officers make to their community and nation.

"They are the only things between good and evil out there on the streets. Sometimes there are tragic results, and we can't ever forget that," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who helped kick off the race at 8 a.m.

Banners displaying the names of all 31 Tampa Police officers who have died in the line of duty were hung along both sides of the finish line.

Officer David Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab are the most recent fallen officers in the city. Both men were shot on June 29, 2010 during a traffic stop.

"Unfortunately, they were killed in the line of duty, and that is the best honor we can do, is to come out here and honor them," said runner Bill Welch. Saturday's event was the 900th race Welch has participated in over the years. It was his 15th Tampa Police Memorial Run.

A group of 31 Tampa Police officers ran together in honor of their fallen brothers and sisters in blue.

"We all represent an officer over the years who has been lost in the line of duty, so we honor them," said Lt. Michael Flynn. "They're a group, so we run as a group."

Funds raised from the memorial run will also go towards scholarships for the children of Tampa Police officers.

"Crime is down 60% in the city of Tampa, largely because of the men and women that are out here," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn, "I don't care what's going on around the rest of the country, in this city, we love our police officers, and we appreciate what they do."