Riders Cycle Through Md. To Honor Fallen Officers And Their Families

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police officers put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day, but some pay the ultimate sacrifice to protect the public.

As Linh Bui reports, an event in Maryland makes sure we never forget.

On the move. About 100 riders travel 280 miles in four days in tough conditions.

“Hills and storms and rain, which makes it even more challenging,” said Edward Hopkins, Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s a small sacrifice for their mission.

“It’s important we never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They did everything for us. We may walk the street each day, but they’ve already paid for us,” said Danielle Bradshaw Lee, Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

The Police Unity Tour honors officers killed in action. It began in Philadelphia, went through Delaware, and Sunday, came to Maryland, stopping for wreath laying ceremonies at the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and in Baltimore at the Western District.

“You see officers on the street responding to calls for service,” Hopkins said. “But what you don’t see is that split second decision that is made when someone opts to confront the officer in aggressive fashion and the officer either has to take a life or put his at risk.”

Melissa Ayala was six months pregnant with triplets when her life tragically changed.

“My husband, Sergeant Hector Ayala, Montgomery County Police Department, died on Easter Sunday. April 4, 2010,” she said.

The ride was something she had to do.

“Very emotional. Can’t say it was easy, but definitely well worth it,” Ayala said.

It’s a chance to pause and reflect, so we never forget.

“We ride for those who died. Every one of us has a special place in our heart for somebody who’s been lost in the line of duty,” said Lee.

The ride also raises money for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The ride ends in Washington, D.C. on Monday, bringing together more than 1,700 riders from across the country.

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