Police Unity Tour to ride through South Jersey

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350-mile bicycle ride honors slain officers

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP – At least 26 Cape May County officers are expected to be among the more than 1,500 officers riding bicycles through Washington, D.C. this month, as part of the annual Police Unity Tour to raise money and to honor police officers slain in the line of duty, a tour spokesman said.

Nearly every department in the county is represented in the three-day bike ride, and their portion of the tour is slated to leave Millville on May 10.

“The most important thing to remember about the Police Unity Tour is our motto,” said Dan Felsing, Chapter II president. “We ride for those who died.”

The Cape May County contingent of officers is part of Chapter II of the Police Unity Tour, a group of 200 officers from law enforcement departments primarily representing southern New Jersey, but also with officers from Florida to Maine.

 “It’s an amazing thing,” Felsing said. “Our officers are riding for a cause, because a family member or a co-worker made the ultimate sacrifice.”

When Chapter II arrives in Millville, it will be joined by Chapter X, another 250 officers mainly from Ocean and Monmouth counties, Felsing said.

Seven other chapters from other parts of the country will leave from different points surrounding Washington, D.C. to make rides of approximately 400 miles to raise awareness of line-of-duty police deaths, Felsing said.

The tour is an annual event that raises money and awareness to honor police officers killed and for the maintenance of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C.

More than 1,500 riders are expected to arrive in the nation’s capital on May 12, Felsing said.

The tour was begun in 1997 with 18 riders on a four-day bicycle ride from Florham Park to the National Law Enforcement Police Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. and raised $18,000. Since then, the Police Unity Tour has grown into a national organization with nine chapters throughout the country.

This year, Felsing said, tour organizers hope to raise more than $1 million for the memorial and museum.

“Cape May County has been especially impacted by line-of-duty deaths,” Felsing said. He said that six officers and a local corrections officer have been killed in the line of duty.

Those officers, honored at the beginning of last year’s tour, include: Officer Harry E. Shore, Ocean City Police Department; Chief Philip DeSantis, Woodbine Borough Police Department; Officer Michael Cullinane Sr., Sea Isle City Police Department; Officer David C. Douglass Sr., Lower Township Police Department; Officer Eugene Miglio, Wildwood Crest Police Department; Corrections Officer Frederick Baker, Bayside State Prison;  and Trooper Bertram Zimmerman, State Police Troop “A” Tactical Patrol Unit.

The impact of these deaths in southern New Jersey has been widely felt, Felsing said, and in 2008, the state Senate and Assembly voted unanimously to rename Route 9 in Cape May County as Police Unity Tour Memorial Highway.

Then-Gov. Jon Corzine signed the bill on Aug. 8.

“That’s really significant,” said Sgt. Bob Shepherd, Middle Township Police Department. “It’s the only highway in the United States that’s dedicated to the tour.”

Shepherd is part of “Team Exit 10,” a group of nine riders made up of Middle Township police and county sheriff’s officers. The team rides as part of Chapter II.

“We’ll have officers taking part in the tour from as far away as California,” Shepherd said.

Yet some of the riders come from much closer to home, he said.

“Anna Miglio is a corrections officer at Bayside,” Shepherd said. “She’ll be riding with Chapter II this year to honor her father.”

Chapter II starts each year by completing a memorial ride in honor of a fallen brother or sister.  The 2014 Tour includes stops at Bayside State Prison to honor Officer Fred Baker who was killed in 1997; the memorial for New Jersey State Trooper Bertram Zimmerman III died in 2004; and the Cape May Lewes Ferry to honor Lower Township Police Officer David Douglass who was killed in 1994.

The tour is expected to leave Millville at about 6:45 a.m. on May 10, and arrive at the Cape May County Police Academy in time to honor Miglio’s father, along with all other county officers killed in the line of duty, at a ceremony from 10 a.m. – noon.

Email David Benson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 


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