A group of 13 law enforcement officers from the Michigan Police Unity Team set off from St. Joseph Sunday morning to cycle 313 miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline. The ride is honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in Michigan.
"We wanted to do something inside the state, and it means it lot to us to honor the fallen here throughout Michigan," said Sgt. James Every the organizer of the ride.
There have been 71 officers killed in the line of duty in 2019—none in Michigan. The last fallen Michigan officer died on Aug. 14, 2018. Detroit Police Officer Fadi Shukur was killed in a hit-and-run.
The multi-day cycling trip will end in Petoskey on Wednesday. Along the way, the group is stopping at memorials for fallen officers. On Sunday, they stopped at the Grand Haven Police Memorial and at the Muskegon County Sheriff's Office. They are placing blue roses at each memorial.
"You have to be mentally ready," said Every. "All the time you're riding, you're thinking about the fallen. A lot of times you're getting the highs of riding for them, but you also have the emotional part of you're losing your brothers and sisters on the way."
At the end of the ride, the group will have cycled 313 miles, and Every said they average about 16 mph. On Sunday, they rode 90 miles from St. Joseph to Muskegon.
"We never want to forget police officers," said Every. "Doesn't matter if you passed away yesterday or passed away 100 years ago, you will never be forgotten."
The ride is raising funds for the organization and for Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors, which provides support to surviving law enforcement families and co-workers. The Michigan Police Unity Team also participates in a national ride that honors fallen officers in May.
You can follow along with the ride on the Michigan Police Unity Team Facebook page. They will be riding from Muskegon to Manistee on Monday, from Manistee to Traverse City on Tuesday, and from Traverse City to Petoskey on Wednesday.
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