A group of police officers from Minnesota are about to embark on a 250-plus mile bike ride on the East Coast to remember officers that were killed in the line of duty.
This fifth-annual ride, which is put on by the national nonprofit Law Enforcement United, brings together about 600 law enforcement officers on two routes, all finishing in Washington, D.C., to coincide with National Police Week.
Tommie Booth, an Apple Valley police officer who had a brush with death on April 29, 2012 when responding to a domestic dispute call that turned into a shootout, will be participating in the ride to remember those who weren't as lucky, according to the Pioneer Press.
The 16-year veteran of the force and an Air Force veteran of Operation Desert Storm turned to biking a few weeks after the shooting. His rides became therapeutic, he told the newspaper.
He will be participating in the annual ride for the second time. Booth, who leaves Wednesday for the ride, is participating in a longer version of the race – the FLETC long ride. Officers participating in the long ride start eight days earlier and bike an additional 800-plus miles before joining up with the other officers participating in the annual Road to Hope event.
On May 10, other members of Law Enforcement United Team Minnesota will begin their 250-mile ride from Chesapeake, Virginia to the South Lawn of the White House, according to the group's Facebook page.
The purpose of the ride is to raise money and awareness for two organizations – Concerns of Police Survivors, which helps pay for kids camps that survivors' children can attend free of charge, and Officer Down Memorial Page, which helps ensure that ever person who has died in the line of duty is never forgotten, Law Enforcement United Team Minnesota says.
Booth and the 30 other Minnesota officers participating in the ride had raised about $61,000 by mid-April, $24,000 of that from Apple Valley officers, the Pioneer Press reports. Booth hopes to be the largest individual fundraiser in the nation, so far he's raised about $16,000, the newspaper says.