CRANFORD, NJ — Cranford Police officers proudly represented the township’s police force at the Police Unity Tour bicycle ride to honor the sacrifices of police officers killed in the line of duty. Officers from around the United States and across the globe converged on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., on May 12.
Four current officers and one retired officer will participate in this year’s ride. Capt. Guy Patterson, Sgt. Joseph Stulpin and officer Daniel Donnerstag were joined by first year rider, officer Matthew Siessel. Retired Lt. Robert Colaneri provided support for the four riders along their 300-mile trip. They departed New Jersey on May 9.
The Police Unity Tour was founded by Chief Patrick P. Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department, with the hope of bringing public awareness of police officers who died in the line of duty and to honor their sacrifices. The first event included 18 riders on a four-day fundraising bicycle ride from Florham Park to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The event has grown to encompass nine chapter organizations consisting of more than 2,000 members nationwide. In addition to officers representing 40 different states, participants have traveled to the event from Australia, Canada, England, India, Israel and Italy.
Officers participating in the Police Unity Tour raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Patterson, Stulpin, Donnerstag and Siessel participated in the May 2016 event that resulted in more than $2.5 million in donations, bringing total donations to the fund since inception to more than $20 million.
All five Cranford officers committed to raising more than $2,000 each through their participation in the tour, with the help of local businesses and organizations. They thank Barry O’Donovan and Kilkenny House, Dottie Baniewicz and Barbara Bilger of the Cranford Chamber of Commerce, Cranford Jaycees, Cranford PBA Local 52 and the Cranford PAL for their support.
According to Patterson, participation in the Police Unity Tour is a great opportunity to represent the Cranford Police Department and all the men and women in law enforcement across the country.
“Having the ability to ride in honor of these fallen officers and their families is something none of us take lightly. We pass thousands of people along our route to D.C. Overwhelmingly, people are extremely supportive. We can see the impact the sheer numbers of officers on bicycles passing by has on them. Making the ride into D.C. and raising the money for the NLEOMF and the families of fallen officers is always a rewarding experience.”
Cranford Police Chief James Wozniak is an ardent supporter of his officers’ participation in the Police Unity Tour, saying, “In the United States, more than 900,000 law enforcement officers protect the citizens and communities they work in. Unfortunately, that protection comes with a price. In 2016, 144 officers lost their lives protecting and serving. This event is one way of showing support to those families whose loved one made the ultimate sacrifice. The Cranford Police Department is committed to this event and I couldn’t be more proud of our team and the effort they have, once again, put forth. ”
For more information about the Police Unity Tour, visit http://policeunitytour.com/chapter_1/.