The Marina del Rey Sheriff Support Unit was started by a group of civic-minded residents and business people who recognized that “their involvement in and support of their local sheriff’s station would assist the station in reaching out to and better serving the communities and businesses of Marina del Rey, Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills and View Park,” according to the group’s board of directors.

The Marina del Rey Sheriff Support Unit supports the sworn deputies, professional staff and volunteers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Marina del Rey Station.

The support unit was formed to raise funds for equipment, programs and special events, and better equip the station and maintain “the peace and safety in our communities,” according to the County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department headquarters.

The unit meets every other month at the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, 13837 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey.

People interested in learning more about the unit can attend one of the meetings or contact the unit by phone, mail or e-mail.

“In this era of lean government budgets for law enforcement, our Marina Sheriff’s Station needs additional resources,” say board members. “The Marina del Rey Sheriff Support Unit was formed in 2006 to help provide these additional resources.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Nelson says, “This Sheriff Support Unit provides assistance to the sheriff’s station and personnel in ways that the county can’t because of budget issues.

“The support unit can also provide support for the annual “Baker to Vegas” Challenge Cup Relay Race, a law enforcement relay team event that is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.”

This annual race — which began in 1985 as a race for police officers to improve their physical fitness — is the largest law enforcement race in the world, with a 120-mile, 20-stage foot race beginning at Baker, California and finishing at Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Marina Sheriff Support Unit is a nonprofit (501(c)(3) organization.

The unit’s officers include Avo Papazian, president; Robert Baral, treasurer; and Gordon Mace, secretary.

Members include Greg Wenger, Tony Palermo, Durrell Hensley, Fred Scott and David Shaby, as well as Capt. Mary Campbell and Lt. Greg Nelson of the Marina Sheriff’s Station.

Information, (310) 578-9832, P.O. Box 12831, Marina del Rey 90295, or www.mdrsheriffsupport