RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This week is National Police Week and to mark to occasion, several law enforcement agencies from around our area are setting off on a memorial ride.
On Wednesday morning, they’ll be pedaling from our state capital to our nation’s capital, all by bike.
It’s called “Bike for the Blue,” and during the ride, officers will honor other officers who have died while in the line of duty.
Today’s ride will be the 20th year Richmond is taking part in the ride. Richmond Police will be remembering the 29 officers who have given their lives protecting the city.
Participants are traveling 117 miles along Route 1, with the help of a motorcade.
“It’s a long ride. About 8 1/2 hours in the saddle and probably about 12 hours total with rests,” said rider Brian Swann, who is retired ATF and served as Deputy Secretary of Public Safety in Virginia. “It’s very challenging, but it’s an opportunity to reflect on the reason we’re here — to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
Several riders, like Swann and Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane, have participated year after year. Chief Keohane says this year’s turnout is one of the best he’s seen.
“What a great showing of law enforcement and to honor our fallen officers that made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Keohane. “But let’s not forget the thousands and thousands of officers that wake up every morning to protect us each and every day.”
During his time serving in Richmond, Keohane worked alongside three officers who died.
“I do a lot of silent reflection on those three,” he said. “I was on duty when one of them did make the ultimate sacrifice, and that was Thomas “Mongo” McMahon in 1998 in Richmond.”
The Virginia Public Safety Foundation was also presented a $10,000 check from Altria before the ride. The money will be used to benefit the Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial, which is Virginia’s monument to nearly 900 first responders who have been killed in the line of duty.
Bikers got started around 6:30 a.m. We’ll stay on top of their travels and update you throughout the day.
Stay with 8News for more details on this developing story.