EDISON, NJ  – Ten police officers and two retired patrolmen are tuning up their touring bikes, and seeking financial sponsors, as they gear up to represent Edison Township in the upcoming 2016 National Police Unity Tour.

Edison police officers will join hundreds of other New Jersey officers for a four-day, 250 mile trek to Washington D.C. Since 1997, the Police Unity Tour has raised awareness about U.S. law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and raised money to support the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.

“I could not be more proud of our officers, willing to make such a strenuous effort for such a worthy cause,” said Mayor Thomas Lankey. “Our officers are not paid for their Unity Tour participation. Their dedication-to-duty and spirit of camaraderie is what drives them.”

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“Wearing a badge is about more than providing professional public safety, something our officers routinely do. It's also about civic involvement and representing our community on the state and national stage,” said Police Chief Thomas Bryan.

“Volunteer participation in the annual Unity Tour demonstrates just how much our officers care about these vital and visible roles,” said Bryan, noting that police officers from across the nation and from abroad participate in the annual Unity Tour.

Volunteer riders for “Team Edison” are: Lt. Salvatore Filannino, Sgt. Keith Stein and Officers Douglas Turner, Michael Schwarz, Joe Chonka, David Tingle, Fred Brown, Tim Farrell; retired officers Michael Ciampi and Jeff Diacunczak; and support drivers Edward Jankowsky and Michael Goldfarb.

Each officer must raise $1,850 to participate. To aid their effort, a Unity Tour Fundraiser will be held on Tuesday, April 19th, from 6-9 p.m. at the Fox & Hound in Menlo Park Mall on Parsonage Road.

“We always hope to raise more funds than the necessary minimum,” said Filannino, one of the department's Unity Tour organizers. “Thankfully, we have some generous business and corporate sponsors, but it would be great for others to also come forward with pledges of support.”  Sponsors receive a tax receipt for their contributions.

New Jersey police officers are to begin the Police Unity Tour in Florham Park on May 9th, arrive in the nation's Capitol on May 12th and, on May 13th, participate in a candlelight vigil and other commemorative events marking national Law Enforcement Week.

For more information about the 2016 Police Unity Tour; to purchase tickets for the April 19th Fox & Hound fundraiser; or to become a business/corporate sponsor, contact Lt. Filannino at sfilannino@edisonpd.org; Officer Melissa Michalak at mmichalak@edisonpd.org, or by calling (732) 248-7410 or (732) 404-8674.