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Sam Benshoof/FOCUS Perham's turtle races, which recently set a single-day record with 557 racers, was started in the late 1970s as a way to bring police offers and local children together.

History of turtle races rooted in police department

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When former Perham Police Chief Brian Nelson looks back at his time on the job, one memory stands above the rest: the creation of turtle races.

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In the late 1970s, the relationship between police officers and local children was shaky, Nelson said.

"We were looking for ways to cross that bridge, and the chamber was looking for ways to get people to town," he said.

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