DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — More than 240 miles over the course of four days.
It can be a challenging bike ride for those officers taking part in the annual Police Unity Tour.
But for those riders from the Dayton Police Department, it is an honor to ride in remembrance of those who paid with their lives to protect the public.
“Our motto is we ride for those who have fallen,” said Lt. Wendy Stiver with the Dayton Police Department.
For four years, Stiver has put on a blue and white jacket to ride for National Police Week.
Her most important piece of equipment, however, is a blue bracelet carrying the randomly assigned name of a fallen officer.
But this year’s bracelet, chosen by Stiver, was for Officer Mary Beall and holds a special connection for the Dayton Police Department.
“That incident happened when I was a very new police officer,” said Stiver.
Officer Mary Beall was shot May 15, 2000, when a suspect she was trying to negotiate with a gunman.
Beall put her gun back in its holster trying to gain the confidence of the suspect.
He, instead, shot her and paralyzed her from the neck down.
Two years later, Beall would die because of her injury.
Fifteen years after the shooting, her name would make the trek from Richmond, Virginia, to our nation’s capital visiting the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial.
It serves as a reminder of the sacrifice officers make to protect and serve.
“Especially now a very powerful reminder that we are a very large family,” said Stiver. “You see the faces of people who next year will just be names on the wall. Every year police officers attend this event and attend the ceremony and some of them don’t come back.”
Next year, Stiver said her and other officers from the Dayton Police Department will ride for Officer Jason Grossnickel.
He was shot and killed in an ambush May 23, 1996.