Charity basketball tournament will benefit family of slain deputy Steven Sandberg

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Next spring, law enforcement officers from around the state will play in a charity basketball tournament – raising money for the family of a recently slain cohort.

The 2016 Ballin' in DC (Dakota County) tournament will benefit the family of Steven Sandberg, the Dakota County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

Sandberg was fatally shot by a suspect at St. Cloud Hospital in October, after what authorities described as an "altercation."

The charity event is going into its sixth iteration, and was started to raise money for the families of fallen officers.

"Every year we've done [the tournament], unfortunately there's been an officer that's been killed," Sgt. Booker Hodges with the Dakota County Sheriff's Office told BringMeTheNews.

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Hodges helped get the fundraiser off the ground in 2011 – he and a fellow officer, both on the drug task force, were doing surveillance and talking about ideas. They both liked basketball, and the idea for a tournament to raise funds came up.

Since then, proceeds from the day have been given in memory of Mahnomen County Deputy Sheriff Christopher Dewey, Cold Spring Police Officer Thomas Decker, Lake City Police Officer Shawn Schneider, St. Paul Police Officer Joshua Lynaugh, (the money was given to the Minnesota chapter of C.O.P.S. in his honor) and Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick.

"It feels good, to be able to do it, but at the same time it's always, it's always a sad moment because you know what you're giving it to them for," Hodges sad.

This year's tournament will be April 16 at Henry Sibley High School. Games start at 8:30 a.m.

Hodges said they're opening up the field to 12 teams. They're all tasked with raising money individually, but they'll accept donations from others at the game, too.

In addition to the funds raised, some of the local pro sports teams also donated items they were able to raffle off.

"What we've been able to do, very fortunately for us, is we've been able to give 100 percent of the money to the family," Hodges said.

Last year, they had 10 teams made up of officers from around the state. It's free for the public to attend, and concessions will be available.

"We've been fortunate enough to have good crowds come out and support," Hodges said.

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