MADISON, NJ – As the sirens approached and the sun shone brightly in the center of downtown Madison on Wednesday morning, a small crowd gathered there. As the bikes passed by—leading an army of cyclists behind them—onlookers took photos and waved as the officers passed, thanking each officer for their work.
The four-day Police Unity Tour had finally reached Madison. More than 2,400 participants, including bike and motorcycle riders and support personnel made their way up Central Avenue and down Main Street, a line that stretched for more than three blocks.
One of these cyclists was Madison Police Officer Carmen DeCaro, who has participated in this event for the past 20 years, a more than 300-mile trek from New Jersey to Washington, DC. Lt. Joseph Longo also made the trip on motorcycle support.
“We love the unity tour coming through Madison,” said Lt. John Miscia of the Madison Police Department. “It’s special to our town and to our community and our officers.”
First organized in 1997 by Florham Park Police Officer Pat Montuore, the Police Unity Tour is designed to raise awareness about fallen law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. DeCaro has ridden in nearly tour since the event’s inception, missing only two in more than 20 years.
Correction: This story previously stated that DeCaro had only missed the event's first tour. TAPinto Madison recently received updated information that DeCaro did indeed participate in the first Police Unity Tour, but has missed two others.
“Every day we keep officers that died in the line of duty in our thoughts and prayers, but especially we remember them and their families during police week and through the unity tour,” Miscia said.
The four-day fundraiser trip ended Saturday afternoon in the nation’s capitol at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which receives these proceeds each year. Last year, the Police Unity Tour donated about $2.6 million to this fund.
A candlelight vigil to remember fallen officers will be held Sunday at the National Mall in Washington, DC.
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