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Sheriff's office's 'jailbreak' a successful fundraiser

Members of the Gwinnett County Police Department SWAT team pose with Sheriff Butch Conway (center) after last week’s “Jail-Break Challenge Obstacle Run,” which raised money for the sheriff’s department’s honor guard and Beat the Heat program. (Special Photo)

Members of the Gwinnett County Police Department SWAT team pose with Sheriff Butch Conway (center) after last week’s “Jail-Break Challenge Obstacle Run,” which raised money for the sheriff’s department’s honor guard and Beat the Heat program. (Special Photo)

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is celebrating a successful jailbreak. Sort of.

Last weekend, the sheriff’s office hosted its first ever “Jail-Break Challenge Obstacle Run,” a 2.5-mile trail run around the wooded outskirts of the jail that included the 16-station obstacle course utilized in deputy training. After not quite knowing what kind of turnout to expect, spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav said about 400 people showed up for the race.

“It was a really great turnout,” Volkodav said.

The event raised money for the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard and Beat the Heat program, which teaches teenagers about the dangers of street racing, texting and driving and driving under the influence. While an exact amount raised was not yet available, Volkodav said a majority of the participants paid the $35 early entry fee.

Sponsored by Tara Fine Jewelry, the run included obstacles like a rock wall, rope climb, monkey bars and a cargo net.

The Gwinnett County Police Department SWAT squad — made up of Terry Werho, J.S. Leak, Jason Rozier and Eric Charron — won the team competition with a time of 27:14. The male and female winners were Andrew Saroka (of the sheriff’s office) and Valerie Smith Hinsley.

Volkodav said it was to be determined if the department would host the event again next year.