MARIPOSA — California Highway Patrol Officer Adrian Perez won a chestful of medals at The United States Police & Fire Championships, held June 22-29 in San Diego.
Perez, 43, is an 18-year CHP veteran based out of Mariposa. For almost a decade, he’s also been one of the country’s fastest first responders — literally — bringing home to Mariposa nearly a dozen U.S. and World Police & Fire Games gold medals.
Perez specializes in the track and field sprint events and at last week’s national championships, he won four golds and a silver in the five events he competed in.
“This was my first time doing five running events in a single day,” he says. “I’m still feeling a little sore.”
Perez competed in the 100m, 200m, 400m and two relay events, the 4 X 100m and the 4 X 400m. He captured a silver medal in the only event he did not win.
Perez enlisted in the Navy just after graduation from Mariposa High School and served until 2001. After he got out of the service, he attended the CHP Academy and, upon graduation, was assigned to work for several years out of the Hayward CHP office before returning home to work in Mariposa.
For about six years, Perez served as the Mariposa CHP office’s public information officer. Earlier this year, he handed off that responsibility and returned to regular patrol duties.
Perez says he always regretted not being able to compete on the track at the college level and started training seriously again about ten years ago for the Police & Fire Games.
In addition to working his regular CHP shifts and spending time with his family, he still somehow also manages to find time to train for one-and-a-half to two hours a day, six days a week, in the months leading up to competitions.
Married, with three kids, Perez says that the family accompanied him to this year’s U.S. championship in San Diego.
“I was able to bring my two youngest along and we got to mix in some fun family events while I was competing.”
Perez also competes in Master’s level USA Track & Field competitions as a member of the So. Cal Track Club.
He began competing in the Police & Fire Games in 2011 and has won total of 15 medals, the majority gold.
His personal best in the sport’s marquee event — the 100m dash — is 12.2 seconds.
The Police & Fire Games are a multi-sport, Olympic-style, annual competition to promote physical and mental health professionals in police and fire services — and “to provide a competitive and social environment to encourage and pay homage to the camaraderie among these men and women, through sports,” according to the nonprofit’s website.
The first California Police Olympics were held in San Diego in 1967, founded by San Diego Police Lieutenant Veon “Duke” Nyhus, who conceived a competition to promote “physical fitness and sport as a means for officers to improve their overall fitness, reduce stress and increase their professional abilities.”
The Games are organized by the California Police Athletic Federation, based in San Diego. The competition is open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel throughout the country — and world.
The U.S. Championships take place annually in San Diego. The World Police & Fire Games will be held later this summer in Chengdu, China from August 8-18.
Perez has competed in two World Championships — and took home a gold in 2015 in the 400m event.
He is not planning to compete later this summer in China but says, “I am hoping to go to the 2021 World Championships in the Netherlands.”
More than 200 athletes representing the entire pubic safety and first responder spectrum — from police and law enforcement to firefighters, corrections officers, probation, border protection, immigration and customs agents, took part in this year’s Games, comprised of 50 Olympic-style sports held at 35 venues throughout San Diego County.