Thousands of law enforcement personnel, including two Santa Clarita deputies, will participate in the Police Unity Tour to raise awareness for fallen officers.
On May 12, 2016, 2,300 law enforcement personnel from across the nation will participate in the bicycle tour to raise awareness for fallen peace officers and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington D.C.
Additional sheriff and police officials will join the tour to provide support for riders, making this one of the largest law enforcement events in the United States. This year’s ride is especially memorable, as it will mark the event’s twentieth anniversary.
The Police Unity Tour is the largest donor to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. Last year’s event raised over $1.9 million, which was donated to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund. Since 1997, donations total nearly $18 million.
Funds received through donations go toward careful and respectful maintenance of the Memorial, which contains the names of over 20,000 fallen heroes. It receives year-round care including re-engraving, coating and sealing of the names, as well as the cleaning of the walls and other memorial improvements.
The Police Unity Tour’s motto, which is simply stated, “We Ride For Those Who Died,” is just that: Law enforcement personnel joining together to complete a bicycle tour, raising awareness for their professional brothers and sisters who died in the line of duty, and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum. It was organized in 1997, by Officer Patrick P. Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department, New Jersey, and began with 18 riders on a four-day, fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, New Jersey, to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. That event raised $18,000.
The Police Unity Tour – Southern California Chapter VII will have over 400 riders and supporters participating in the event. On May 8, 2016, the group will fly with their equipment to Somerset, New Jersey, where they will begin the three-day, 280-mile journey through Philadelphia, Delaware and Maryland, and complete their circuit in Washington D.C. They will join other law enforcement officers from other Police Unity Tour Chapters across the United States as they ride into Washington D.C. to kick-off National Police Week.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell said, “2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Police Unity Tour, and the Department is proud to have assembled its largest group of participants for this noble cause to date. Each member has invested hours of training to prepare for the challenging ride, and raised a commendable amount of donations to maintain our nation’s memorial for fallen law enforcement officers. Their efforts have raised the public’s awareness and appreciation for all law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe.”