Yesterday, four Oregonians joined more than 1,500 law enforcement officers from throughout the country participating in the 2018 Police Unity Tour. The bicycle tour started yesterday in Somerset, New Jersey and will span more than 300 miles going through Philadelphia and Baltimore ending at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The ride will conclude in the early evening of Sunday, May 13, 2018 where it will join over 50,000 people expected to attend the National Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil.
The primary purpose of the Police Unity Tour is to raise awareness about the more than 19,000 law enforcement personnel that have died in the line of duty. The Police Unity Tour motto is “We Ride for Those Who Died.” The secondary purpose of the Tour is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). Since its’ inception in 1997, the Police Unity Tour has raised over $14 million to support the Memorial. Last year the Tour raised $2.75 million.
The 2018 Police Unity Tour has four riders from Oregon; Andy Bechdolt of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), Nate Pieske of the Eugene Police Department, Christina McCarty of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and Jeanne McLaughlin of the University of Oregon. The four make up Team Oregon and have participated in the Police Unity Tour since 2011.
DPSST’s Director Eriks Gabliks said “we are proud to have four Oregonians participate in the 2018 Police Unity Tour. Not only are they honoring fallen officers from around the nation, they are also honoring and remembering the 183 Oregon law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and the families they left behind.”
Each rider must raise a minimum of $2,000 to participate. That money goes toward the NLEOMF, and a small portion is to support the riders while on the tour. Each rider is also responsible for airfare, some meals and shipping bicycles to and from. Riders must all be involved in Public Safety in one fashion or another (full time or retired LEO, dispatch, records, corrections, P&P, etc.), or be a survivor.
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