Local Officers Prepare For 2019 Police Unity Tour
By Mary McCombs
Law enforcement officers from across the nation will come together next week to honor more than 20,000 fallen officers.
Several local agencies have been training for the Police Unity Tour which takes place during National Police Week. It’s a 300-mile bike ride to honor officers killed in the line of duty.
“There’s no other greater sacrifice that a man or a woman can give other to lay down his or her life for someone they do not know,” said interim Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary.
Zechariah Cartledge, 10 of Florida, runs a mile for each slain officer. The child, who gained popularity through a Facebook campaign, has raised $40,000 for Tunnel to Towers, a foundation that supports and honors first responders.
“He keeps us focused on this ride,” rider Casey Johnston said. “I mean, it’s 300 miles, no easy task, and it just keeps us motivated knowing what he’s doing.”
The officers will check in with Zechariah as they embark on their journey that begins in New Jersey and ends at the memorial wall in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.
“It is the only memorial in Washington, D.C., which unfortunately grows every year,” said retired Rochester Police Capt. Lynde Johnston.
Each rider will wear bracelets bearing the names of the 15 RPD officers killed in the line of duty over the department’s 200-year history.
This year marks Investigator Kim Rasbeck’s fifth year. She says she’s done the ride in honor of Daryl Pierson the last four years.
“It’s an honor to ride for him, as I worked with him for a few years when he first came on the department,” said Rasbeck. “It’s a very powerful four days of riding with 400-plus other officers that are representing families of fallen all across the country.”