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Beyond the Badge 5K honors officers, fallen heroes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds hit the pavement Sunday morning at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis for an annual race honoring public safety officers. 

The 17th annual Beyond the Badge 5K drew record attendance, organizers said, including members of local law enforcement agencies and relatives of officers slain in the line of duty. 

The event was created in memory of Jason Matthew Baker, a Marion County sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed in 2001 while pursuing four suspects. 

Jason died six days after 9/11. He was 24 years old.

“He always wanted to be an officer,” his father, Jerry Baker, told News 8. “It was just who he was. He cared about people his whole life.” 

Jerry, a retired law enforcement officer with 42 years of service, said Jason would follow him to work as a child and ride with officers on patrol. He became an Indianapolis police cadet at age 13 and was eventually appointed as a Merit Deputy by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. 

An album of family photos shows Jason beaming with pride at graduation ceremonies and training events. The young deputy was committed to serving and protecting the people of Marion County until the end, his father said. 

17 years after his death in the line of duty, Jason’s legacy continues to empower others dedicated to service. A scholarship in his name has been awarded to at least 19 students pursuing public safety degrees in Indiana. 

Honoring his son’s memory by supporting public safety students has been “very rewarding,” Jerry told News 8. 

Some of the recipients wouldn’t have been able to attend college without the award, he said, smiling as he explained they were supporting the hopes, dreams and achievements of “another Jason.”

The scholarship is funded by Beyond the Badge proceeds, in addition to corporate and private donations. Contributions can be made online or mailed to the following address:

Jason M. Baker Memorial Scholarship Fund
C/O Key Bank
Market Tower Center
10 West market Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204