By: Sharon Aron Baron
The Police Unity Tour takes off this week, where members of the South Florida team will begin cycling throughout the northeast United States until they reach the National law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
Held each May, the Police Unity Tour is an 300-mile bicycle ride that raises awareness of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty while also raising funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington, DC.
This year, the South Florida Chapter will be represented by three local police officers: Rich Best, Augusto Carvalho, and Jason Whisnant who will be departing South Florida on May 5, driving to New Jersey where they will begin riding through the state on May 9 as well as through Delaware and Maryland and then arrive in Washington, D.C. on May 12 at the National law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
This year the team will be riding in honor of Ocala Police Department Police Officer Jared Forsyth who was killed in the line of duty on April 6, 2015 and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff William Myers who was killed in the line of duty on September 22, 2015.
“The majority of our donations received throughout the year go towards sponsoring our team’s participation in this incredible event. This event is the foundation behind our team being created.” said Rich Best head of the South Florida Chapter who also works with the Coral Springs Police Department.
Besides the Unity Tour, the South Florida Chapter’s mission includes sending flowers to each and every funeral of fallen Florida Law Enforcement Officers who are killed in the line of duty.
“As a sign of solidarity, unity, and respect, we also make every effort to have at least one member of our Team physically attend each funeral in the State of Florida,” said Best.
The team also promotes positive news stories involving law enforcement and the community from all across the country on their various social network pages. They participate in local community events throughout the year such as the Southeast Police Motorcycle Rodeo supporting Concerns of Police Survivors, Family Fun Day events, the South Florida K9 Competition, the Coral Springs Tip-a-Cop event supporting the Special Olympics, the Florida Tour de Force memorial bicycle ride, and the Police Unity Tour.
The Police Unity Tour Team South Florida welcomes active and retired, sworn law enforcement officers, in good standing, who serve or have served in the South Florida area. They do not get compensated for their time on the Police Unity Tour and must use their vacation time.