Police Unity Tour honors officers killed in the line of duty

MARLBORO – Members of the Marlboro Police Department participated in the 22nd annual Police Unity Tour which saw participants ride bicycles from New Jersey to a national memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Police Unity Tour is a fundraising event which supports the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The memorial honors officers who were killed in the line of duty.

The Marlboro Police Department’s representatives on the Police Unity Tour were Sgt. Nicholas Szymanski, Detective Jill Borowsky (retired), Capt. Fred Reck, Lt. Christie McKenna, Sgt. Gerald Arminio, Sgt. John Bise, Sgt. Andrew Goldberg, Detective Eric Hayes, Detective Anthony Peterpaul, Patrolman David Taglietta, Officer Bernadette Peter, Officer Kelly Drum, Special Law Enforcement Officer Class II Phil Campo and dispatcher Paul Lorenz.

The riders left New Jersey for Washington, D.C., on May 9 and arrived on May 13 for the annual candlelight vigil during which the names of fallen officers from the last year were added to the memorial. Szymanski said there were 2,800 participants and together they raised $2.8 million.

Szymanski said the riders from Chapter 10, which includes Marlboro, honored K-9 Solo, a police dog with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office who was killed in the line of duty on June 5, 1996, and Deputy Sheriff Allen Lipford of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee, who was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 11, 1991.

Solo’s handler, officer Robin Eckel, works for the Marlboro Police Department, and the department was joined by Lipford’s former partner, Terry Gregg.

“I’m happy to see the ride keeps growing in size in overall numbers,” Szymanski said. “When we started off there were 1,000 riders overall and we had a chapter of 200. This year we rode with close to 800 people participating with us from three different chapters so that was a big difference from then to now. We had riders from 15 states participating. It’s awesome seeing officers from across the country participating for the same reasons.”

The Police Unity Tour was organized in 1997 by Officer Patrick P. Montoure of the Florham Park Police Department in Morris County to bring public awareness to police officers who were killed in the line of duty and to honor those individuals.

The first tour saw 18 riders participating in a four-day fundraising bicycle ride from Florham Park to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The officers’ effort raised $18,000.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected the Police Unity Tour to be the sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Museum Hall of Remembrance. After this year’s event, the tour has raised more than $25 million for the memorial.