SOMERVILLE, NJ – Hundreds of police officers from scores of police agencies throughout New Jersey rode into town Tuesday, May 9 on their way to Washington, DC where they will join with police from across the country to honor their brothers killed in the line of duty.
The four-day Police Unity Tour is commemorating its 21th anniversary May 9-12, with police from around the country converging on the nation’s capital to pay tribute to the slain officers and the families left behind.
The fifth day, May 13th, will be filled by a candlelight vigil and ceremonies at the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.
The 2,000 riders nationwide will help to heighten awareness of the dangers and hazards faced by law enforcement officers, honor those who have died in the line of duty and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.
The riders headed east down Route 28 past VanderVeer School, onto Finderne Avenue into Manville and on to Weston Canal Road to connect with Davidson Avenue in Franklin, where they will spend the night at area hotels before heading out Wednesday, May 10.
By the end of Day Two, the cyclists will reach Philadelphia; Day 3, May 11, the destination is Baltimore. They will arrive in Washington on May 12, Day 4 and converge at RFK Stadium before riding to the police memorial.
They are escorted to their seats one-by-one as the officers salute them. The name of each fallen officer is read off.
The Police Unity Tour was organized by Officer Patrick P. Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department in May, 1997.
Since then, the annual event has raised over $20 million.
Last year the police cyclists raised $2.5 million.
- In late 2005, the Police Unity Tour pledged $5 Million in support of the National Law Enforcement Museum.
- Having completed the $5 Million commitment to the Museum in 2009 the Police Unity Tour dedicated the 2010 ride to the restoration of the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The $1.1 million restoration project included the re-engraving, coating and sealing of the 18,983 names on the memorial as well as the cleaning of the walls and other memorial improvements.
- In 2011 the Police Unity Tour became the official sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s “Officer of the Month Program.” Officers of the Month are honored at a special awards luncheon each May in Washington, DC during National Police Week, and they are featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar. The Police Unity Tour is also proud to sponsor the NLEOMF’s “Recently Fallen Alerts.”
Each cyclist must raise $1,850 to participate in the Unity Tour. Some of that money pays for each cyclist’s hotel, food and other related expenses. What’s not spent is donated to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.