Police Unity Tour draws over 2,500 riders

16 May 2018 | 06:07

By Joe Picard
— The many police officer cyclists from Sussex County are back on the job today after participating last week in the 22nd annual Police Unity Tour, where over 2,500 officers and friends from across the country pedalled three days and more than 200 miles from points on the East Coast to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The riders raised $2.8 million for the National Law Enforcement Memorial foundation, monies which go the families of fallen officers and the maintenance of the memorial.
"It was an amazing and humbling experience," Sgt. Rob Fraser of the Sparta police said. "It was very moving to enter Washington DC and the Law Enforcement Memorial with 2,500 plus other riders and to see the huge crowd supporting the cause. I will definitely be riding next year and for the years to come."
"The experience is filled with highs and lows," said Officer Anthony Frassa of the West Milford Police Department.
Officers from West Milford, Sparta and Jefferson rode as a team. Another team included officer from the Andover Township and Newton police departments.
"During our journey we get to meet our fellow brothers and sisters from other states, jurisdictions and other branches the law enforcement community, who are all there fighting alongside of you to bring awareness and knowledge of the ultimate sacrifice these fallen officers have made," Frassa said. "It's at the law enforcement memorial where it really hits you, when you see the survivors of these fallen heroes — mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters all standing there, tears in their eyes, paying tribute to their hero one last time. It's a very emotional and humbling experience."
The annual event began in 1997, when Officer Patrick Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department organized a bicycle ride from his New Jersey town to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Judiciary Square in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the journey was to raise public awareness of officers who have died in the line of duty and to raise money for the surviving families of the fallen. Seventeen other officers joined Montuore on that initial four-day ride. They raised $18,000.
In 1998, 37 riders made the trip and raised $50,000. The effort has grown each year since. In 2006, with 978 riders, the fundraising surpassed $1 million. Last year’s Police Unity Tour had 2,500 riders, from departments nationwide. They raised $2.6 million. this year, the figure increased to $2.8 million.
For more information on the ride and the fund, visit their website policeunitytour.com.