Video contributed by Elvert Barnes
An estimated 1,100 motorcycle riders – among them, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters – made the annual trek from RFK Stadium to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this morning for the 13th Annual Law Ride and Wreath Laying Ceremony. Law Ride pays tribute to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, in particular the more than 1,200 motorcycle officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice throughout United States history.
With F Street, NW, filled with parked motorcycles, Law Ride participants heard from a number of speakers during a ceremony at the Memorial. One of the speakers was Secretary Peters, herself a longtime motorcycle rider. She expressed concern that although America’s roadways are getting safer for motorists in general, they are becoming more dangerous for the nation’s law enforcement officers. She noted that a record 83 officers died last year in traffic-related incidents, remarking that “83 law enforcement deaths are 83 too many. Safer roads start with safer drivers.”
Secretary Peters praised the NLEOMF’s Drive Safely campaign, which provides safety tips and other information for motorists to use in watching out for officers on the road. She also encouraged all law enforcement officers to use their safety belts and take advantage of other safety and restraint systems in their vehicles.
The keynote speaker was Michael Turner, a retired Supervisory Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and a member of the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club. “Strength, courage and valor are the hallmarks of those who serve in law enforcement. It is through law enforcement service and sacrifice that we gain hope – hope that we can one day live in a crime-free America,” he said.
Following the remarks, Law Ride leaders and special guests placed four wreaths at the Memorial’s center medallion in honor of fallen law enforcement officers from all four regions of the country. NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd also read the names of 11 motorcycles officers whose names were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year.
Law Ride 2008 raised close to $50,000 for the NLEOMF and the National Law Enforcement Museum. During the ceremony, generous checks were presented by SprintNextel, the American Heroes Foundation of the Defenders Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, Panasonic, ICOP Digital, the Brevard County (FL) Sheriff’s Office Charity Ride and America’s Most Wanted, among others.