FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Cyclists from around the state stopped in Fort Wayne Wednesday during their ride to honor fallen officers. It’s part of the 12th annual Cops Cycling for Survivors bicycle ride.
At least a dozen riders came through Fort Wayne today, as part of their 1,000 mile journey across the state.
“You’ll see the cyclists pedal a little bit faster when people are honking their horns or they’re waving at us or they’re whatever the case maybe,” said Rich Crawford, President of Cops Cycling for Survivors Foundation.
Cyclists started in Indianapolis, rode north through Fort Wayne Wednesday and will hit several more cities along the way during their two week journey to remember our fallen officers and their families.
Lieutenant Gary Dudley and Chief Gary Martin led this tour, starting in 2001. They were killed in a chain reaction crash during an annual ride.
“Those are big shoes for me to fill when Lieutenant Gary Dudley was killed on August 22, 2006. I just felt I didn’t want this ride to just fade away,” said Crawford.
Since its inception, the group has raised roughly half a million dollars to help fallen officers’ families.
Susan Matteson-Thomas’ husband, Bradley of the Fort Wayne Police Department was killed in a car accident in 2000 before the annual tradition. She’s participated in every ride.
“It’s always nice to see those same faces come through and then see the new faces,” said Matteson-Thomas.
This year’s ride is dedicated to Officer Rod Bradway with the Indianapolis Police Department who was shot and killed last year while responding to a domestic dispute call.
Next year’s ride will honor the three most recent fallen officers.
“We’ve been hit with 3 line of duty deaths within a period of like 14 days which is just unprecedented and I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know how to solve that problem. But what I can tell you and I could assure the public out there that those officers that are part of this bike ride will never, ever let their memories be forgotten or what their sacrifices meant to their communities,” said Crawford.
The ride will end in Indianapolis at Crown Hill Cemetery next Saturday.
The wife of Officer Perry Renn, who was killed in Indianapolis earlier this month, hopes to participate next year.
For more information about the Cops Cycling for Survivors Foundation, click on this link.