BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – The tragedy in Dallas shocked the nation, but it’s especially troubling to police officers, such as those at the Bradenton Police Department.
Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan said, “It doesn’t matter whether it’s in Dallas or somewhere closer, it strikes at our core. You can see it in the officer’s faces today. People are upset, people are searching for answers. It’s a bad day.”
And it’s especially timely for a mission that a group of Bradenton Police officers are embarking upon – The Road to Hope Tour in 2017.
Bradenton Police officers will join others from all over the country in May 2017 to bike in honor of fallen police officers. It will be a 3-day, 250-mile cycling journey from Chesapeake, VA to Washington, DC. There they will join thousands at a candlelight vigil.
Lt. James Racky plans to attend the ride. He said, “It shows these families that they’re not forgotten, we still care about them.”
Proceeds raised from the event will be given to the families of slain law enforcement officers. And the recent loss of the five officers in Dallas serves a reminder of the importance of this effort.
Racky said, “It’s our way of giving back to these families. It’s our way of showing these families that their loss is not forgotten, their loss is not in vain.”
Portions of the proceeds will be used to support the Concerns of Police Survivors Kids Summer Camp. The C.O.P.S. Summer Camp provides surviving spouses and children the opportunity to work with professional counselors and trained mentors to improve communications within the family unit and resolve grief issues together while enjoying a camp atmosphere.
Racky admits he’s devastated over the shootings. He said, “My wife didn’t want me to come into work today. How do you tell her I need to go in?”
He said this is a reminder of the danger of his job. But he won’t live in fear. He said, “I trust my brothers and my sisters here with my life. So if it makes somebody worry, we may not do the job right and we might do something wrong so we have to be on point.”
If you’d like to support the Bradenton PD’s fundraising efforts for Road to Hope, contact the Bradenton Police Department.
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