ROXBURY, NJ – Seventeen Roxbury police officers want to honor a departed colleague by riding in an upcoming charity bicycle tour, and students at Roxbury High School today launched an online fundraising campaign to help them do it.

The page, created by the Roxbury High School Interact Club, seeks to raise $10,000, to sponsor the 17 officers hoping to ride in the annual Police Unity Tour. The bicycle ride from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. brings awareness about law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty and raises money for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.

To participate in the May 12 event, each officer needs to come up with $1,850 in pledges. That means the Roxbury officers and their Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) must raise more than $31,000, a task it is finding daunting (as described in this recent TAPinto Roxbury article).

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Only a handful of Roxbury officers normally participate in the Police Unity Tour, but the number of officers wanting to ride swelled this year as a way of honoring retired Roxbury Police Lt. Joe Franklin, who died during last year’s Tour after becoming involved in a bicycle accident.

The Interact Club is the high school arm of the Roxbury Rotary Club. The page was created by Roxbury Interact Club President Kaila Mathis.

“The main purpose of our club is to help others and right now the Roxbury Police Department could really use the community’s help,” Mathis wrote on the page. She said the PBA raised $22,687 as of Feb. 20, leaving it nearly $9,000 short.

“This is our chance to aid those that protect us every day, please take a moment to be a part of it,” Mathis wrote.

People can also make donations online by going directly to the police department's "team page."