Yesterday, Bike Law Cycle Club members Julia Engel and Garet Johnson joined Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department bicyclists and other riders from the community on the first leg of CMPD’s Annual Law Enforcement Bicycle Ride to Washington D.C.
Every year, during National Police Week, officers from all over the country gather in Washington D.C. at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to honor officers who have died in the line of duty. In May 1997, the Police Unity Tour was organized by a New Jersey officer to bring awareness and to raise money for a memorial fund. The first ride consisted of 18 riders pedaling from New Jersey to the National Capitol.
The NC Law Enforcement Bicycle Ride to DC
The CMPD ride started in 2007 and consisted of four Charlotte-based officers who made the 370-mile journey to honor two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers, Jeff Shelton and Sean Clark, who lost their lives in the line of duty. Since then, the event has grown significantly. Other departments that have joined the CMPD ride include the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Davidson Police Department, Kannapolis Police Department, Mooresville Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department, Alexandria Police Department and the Bridgewater Police Department.
The Raleigh Police organize their own ride, and is joined by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Cary Police Department; the Winston-Salem Police Department; the Greenville Police Department; the Wilson Police Department; the New Bern Police Department; the Elizabeth City Police Department; the Tarboro Police Department; the Stafford County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Department; the James City County (Virginia) Police Department; the North Carolina State University Police Department; the Mesa (Arizona) Police Department; the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, and Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Support for the event has also grown throughout the community. Dozens of local riders every year join at least the first leg out of Charlotte to show their support for law enforcement. Julia reported the police escort out of town and scenes like a fire department with a giant American flag as a humbling experience and one that reinforced her respect for law enforcement.
This event is yet another way in which bicycling brings the community together.
Photo Credit: Chris Guella