WASHINGTON — Over the weekend, about a thousand people were out either running or biking in honor of fallen law enforcement officers.
It was for the fifth annual Law Enforcement Ride and Run to Remember, an event that honors fallen men and women in blue. It’s also a fundraising event that ensures every fallen officer’s name is engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
On average, a police officer in the United States is killed in the line of duty every 60 hours.
Saturday was the run portion of the Ride and Run to Remember. A 5K walk/run took place by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C. On Sunday, it was the ride portion of the event. The bike riders got to choose either a 30- or 55-mile trek.
“The ride is through Prince George’s County and into Charles County and weaves itself back up here to National Harbor and ends here on site,” says Steve Groeninger, with National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Corporal John Pfaehler, with Rockville City Police Department, did the 55 mile ride. He’s been in law enforcement for 22 years. For him this was about raising awareness about the risks and challenges law enforcement officers face, and to honor the fallen. He also rides in the Police Unity Tour in May.
Julian Brown has been a reserve officer with the Metropolitan Police Department since 2011. He’s retired military and spent 22 years in the Army. He rode in honor of an MPD reserve officer who was killed in 2009.
“One of our officers is on the wall. We have a reserve officer from MPD that was killed during a detail. He’s on the wall so, I want to remember him,” says Brown.
Officer Keith Van Louvender is from Pike County, Pennsylvania, which is in the northeast part of the state. His family joined him at the event, cheering him on.
“Last year we lost an officer in our area taken out by a sniper — Cpl. Bryon Dickson Pennsylvania State Police,” he said, explaining his reason for participating in the event.
The funds raised from the weekend event go to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Groeninger says the money helps operate the memorial, build the National Law Enforcement Museum and conduct an officers safety program that allow officers to do their job safely but efficiently.
Groeninger says unfortunately, each spring, about 300 new names are added to the memorial walls. He says the memorial currently contains the names of 20,538 officers killed in the line of duty.