Runners, police 'Take Back' Swamp Rabbit Trail - | WBTV Charlotte

Runners, police 'Take Back' Swamp Rabbit Trail

Greenville Police Chief Terri Wilfong displays the shirts officers are wearing for the run. (Sept. 19, 2013/FOX Carolina) Greenville Police Chief Terri Wilfong displays the shirts officers are wearing for the run. (Sept. 19, 2013/FOX Carolina)

And they're off! Runners and Greenville police officers enjoyed all that the Swamp Rabbit Trail has to offer Thursday morning with a 5-mile run.

About 200 people met in the parking lot of the Greenville Zoo at 6 a.m. to run with police officers to show how everyone can enjoy and feel safe while running or biking the Swamp Rabbit.

Several police officers ran with the public Thursday morning, decked out in neon green shirts, including Police Chief Terri Wilfong.

"Just the public perception, it was getting to be that the Swamp Rabbit was dangerous, and we don't want that to be the public's perception," said Greenville police spokesman Johnathan Bragg. "We've only had one incident on the 5-mile stretch in the city and wanted to reassure people that it is still safe and you can come out and have fun on the trail."

The run's route took participants from the Zoo, 2.5 miles past Falls Park to the turn around point at Willard Street then back to the Zoo.

"Hopefully this will have an impact on the community, not just for those who were thinKing about doing something bad, but for folks like me who want to make the effort to show some kind of force," said runner Camp Wynn. "We're going to be watching out for each other."

Some have expressed concerns about safety along the trail after recent robberies and an assault. The city is working on an increased security plan along the trail and in downtown Greenville.

But officers want to remind everyone it is an overall safe place - and they're out on the trail too.

"We're out here all the time," said Major Mike Gambrell with Greenville police. "I was just out here doing 8 miles on Saturday. I'm out here on a daily basis. I believe in it. I believe that it is a safe trail and we want to promote that throughout the community."

Wilfong says they'll hold a similar run in October - this one in the evening - after receiving a number of requests via social media.

The police department posted online Friday that the October race will be Thursday Oct. 3 at 6 p.m.

Then on Nov. 2, police said the city will hold its "Rally on the Rabbit" run.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly