Four members of the Lakewood Police Department will be leaving this weekend to take part in an annual bicycle ride honoring slain police officers.
This will be the second year that Sgts. Mark Eakes and John Fraser and officers Michelle Hector and Charles Porche will ride in the Police Unity Tour, a 320-mile, four-day ride on the East Coast.
The four did the ride last year in honor of their four slain colleagues – Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards – and other law enforcement officers killed while on duty in the state in 2009. The four Lakewood officers were gunned down Nov. 29, 2009, as they prepared for their shift in a Parkland coffee shop.
Eakes, Fraser, Hector and Porche leave for this year’s ride Saturday, Eakes said. The ride begins Monday and will end May 12 at the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial in Washington, D.C. Griswold’s brother is scheduled to ride with the group, Eakes said.
This year, the riders will go into New York City and will stop at ground zero to mark the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Eakes said. He added that the death of Osama bin Laden gives deeper meaning to the visit.
“We are really looking forward to it,” Eakes said.
The Lakewood officers will be using vacation days to take part in the bicycle ride. The team has been raising money to offset the costs associated to the ride, Eakes said.
For more information about the effort – and to follow the Lakewood officers on the ride – visit their blog here.