On Tuesday, Chattanooga police officers were up bright and early to leave for the Law Enforcement United’s Road to Hope annual ride. They will drive to New Jersey and then six officers will bike from there to Washington D.C., all to honor fallen officers.
“The purpose of the ride is to raise money for the families who have died in the line of duty. You have surviving spouses, wives and husbands, who have to deal with life after their law enforcement family member has died,” said Officer Rob Simmons, with the Chattanooga Police Department.
They raised $16,000 this year for the ride. The money goes towards camps for the fallen officers’ kids, scholarships and other funds.
While riding, they will keep in mind all of the Chattanooga Police Department’s fallen officers, the most recent being Officer Julie Jacks and Sergeant Tim Chapin.
In May of 2002, Officer Julie Jacks was shot and killed while working near Parkridge Hospital. She was looking a man who ran away from a mental health facility. When Jacks found him, he took her service weapon and shot her.
In April of 2011, Sergeant Chapin was killed while responding to a robbery at a pawn shop on Brainerd Road.
Those participating in the ride say when an officer dies the help needs to go longer than a couple of months.
“It needs to go for the rest of their lives. They are missing out on a source of income and a loved one during that time. This charity ride helps bring a little bit more support to them for the long haul,” Officer Simmons said.
They enjoy meeting up with all of the other officers.
“the most important thing that I like is just getting together with officers. There are thousands of officers that do this every year and as a big group and traveling into Washington D.C., taking up the whole road way for a few minutes. It is a really cool experience and I really enjoy that,” Officer Simmons said.
Officers drove off, saying it will take them three days to bike to D.C. They expect to be back in Chattanooga on Sunday.