Riders in the Police Unity Tour, including several members of the Madison Police Department, will pass through the borough's downtown Thursday morning as they begin their four-day journey to Washington, D.C.
The annual bicycle ride in remembrance of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial and Museum was started in 1997 by Florham Park Police Officer Patrick Montuore, who is now the borough's police chief. It draws participants from around the U.S. and has raised nearly $12 million since it started, according to the tour. Every officer who rides in the event must raise at least $1,750 to participate.
Four members of the Madison Police Department—officers Joseph Longo, Anthony Maccario and Carmen DeCaro, and dispatcher Joseph Mittermaier—are participating in the ride this year, Madison Police Chief Darren Dachisen said. The tour is scheduled to travel through Madison from 9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Thursday and residents should expect traffic delays around that time, police said Wednesday.
Riders depart Thursday morning from the Target shopping center on Route 10 in East Hanover. The route eventually takes them on Central Avenue in Madison from Florham Park. They turn right on Main Street en route to Madison Avenue and then Loantaka Way toward Chatham Township.
On Monday evening, the day after the Police Unity Tour arrives in Washington, the names of 320 officers killed in the line of duty that were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year will be dedicated during a candlelight vigil. The names include 119 officers who were killed in 2012, plus 201 officers whose sacrifices were not previously documented there, according to a police news release.
The vigil will be webcast live beginning at 8 p.m. Monday. The ceremony is one of many commemorative events taking place during National Police Week 2013, a national observance organized by a group of organizations led by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Concerns of Police Survivors, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary.
On May 15 of each year, National Peace Officers Memorial Day, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary host a ceremony on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol to honor fallen law enforcement officers and their families. Government agencies, businesses and residents are to fly their U.S. flags at half staff on that day.
“We need to honor our fallen heroes who have given their lives in service to their community," Dachisen said in a statement. "The Thin Blue Line will never forget our Brothers and Sisters who have worked their last tour of duty.”
For more information about National Police Week visit www.LawMemorial.org/policeweek.