EDISON, NJ  – A contingent of bicycle-riding police officers – participating in the 2017 Police Unity Tour – visited the Edison Municipal Complex on Tuesday after finishing the first leg of their ride that began at the National 9/11 Memorial at “Ground Zero” in New York.

Among the large contingent of riders were 14 Edison Township police officers including: Lt. Sal Filannino and Lt. Keith Stein, Sergeants David Tingle, Douglas Turner; Detectives Joseph Chonka and Rudy Innocenti; and Officers Jennifer Aldahondo, Fred Brown, John Cercatore, Timothy Farrell, Michael Goldfarb, Michael Schwarz, Richard Westover and retired Officer Michael Ciampi.

Officers Brian Hudick and Ed Jankowsky will accompany the Edison’s police bicyclists to provide support on their four-day 300-mile trek to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C.

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On hand to greet the riders were the families of two local police officers who died serving the Edison community. Officer Frank Papaianni was shot and killed as he responded to a 1971 holdup at a Menlo Park Mall bank, and Officer Michael Dudash died in a motorcycle accident on Route 27 in October 1924, when Edison was still known as Raritan Township.

Also on hand to greet riders were Police Chief Thomas Bryan, the Command Staffs from the police and fire departments, the police Honor Guard and municipal employees who gathered at Lake Papaianni Park across from the Municipal Complex.

“Police officers – across our nation and state, and right here in Edison – put their lives at risk each day to protect the communities they serve,” Chief Bryan said. “The annual Police Unity Tour honors those officers made the ultimate sacrifice. It is an honor to have so many of our officers participate.”

“The Edison officers riding in this event are a credit to the badge and a source of pride for our community,” Mayor Thomas Lankey said. “I am certainly proud of them for their dedication to service and for making this effort.” 

The Unity Tour’s arrival in Washington D.C. on Friday marks the unofficial start of National Police Week, which runs from May 15-21. The Unity Tour is expected to more than $2 million for families of officers killed in the line of duty.