Remembering the ultimate sacrifice
From Saturday Sept. 11 to Tuesday Sept. 14, Lieutenant Amy Pedlow and Assistant Chief Christopher Bartolomei from the University Police Department will participate in the ninth annual Tour de Force.
The Tour de Force was originally held as a memorial fundraiser for the families of 9/11 victims. Although the 9/11 benefit reached its targeted goal several years ago, organizers decided to continue the ride to raise funds for the families of police officers killed in the line of duty each year.
The 250-mile course may seem to be a daunting enterprise, but the two officers seem confident in their ability to conquer the road ahead.
"We're definitely excited for this year," said Pedlow, a third-time participant. "I'm doing it for the families and for the heroes of 9/11… though we have no direct relationship to an on-duty death, that kind of thing affects every police officer."
Up 43 percent nationwide from last year, on-duty deaths carry a very similar relevance for police officers. Officers from across the country, and several from Canada and Europe, vie for an opportunity to take part.
The tour will begin at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., before bikers pedal 107 miles to Rehoboph Beach, Del. After taking a ferry to Cape May, N.J., the group will ride through parts of the Garden State for the next day. The ride will be completed at the police memorial at Battery Park in Manhattan, N.Y.
The group will also observe a moment of silence in memory of the 9/11 victims on a stop to Ground Zero.
Each Tour de Force rider must raise at least $1,000 in order to participate. UPD held several raffles at freshman orientation and received generous donations from students and families that amounted to over $4,000 for the cause.
UPD Chief of Police Gerald Schoenle fully endorses and supports the fundraiser, and shows enthusiasm for its contribution to morale.
"It reflects very well on these officers and UB police that they're giving their time for other officers in their country," Schoenle said. "We're lucky to have Amy and Chris working with us."