GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Officers with the Grand Rapids Police Department are riding more than 300 miles on their bicycles to raise awareness for their peers who died in the line of duty.
Team GRPD is gearing up to ride in the 20th annual Police Unity Tour with thousands of other officers from around the world. Each officer is currently raising roughly 1800 dollars to honor their fallen comrades. It's a price of admission those involved say is nothing compared to the ultimate price paid in the line of duty.
"As a new officer, you don't really realize the sacrifice that could be made with this job," said Sergent Jana Forner with GRPD. "I mean, you come into it wanting to help people and until you realize the loss of somebody - one of your coworkers - I don’t think you really realize just what this job could lead to. But at the same time we put our uniforms on everyday and we go out to serve the citizens of GR, Kent Co. all of our local agencies."
A total of 15 officers paid the ultimate price for the Grand Rapids Police Department. Eleven officers will be representing team GRPD, eight of whom are riding 320 miles from New Jersey to Washington D.C.
"It’s very emotional. I don’t think there’s a dry eye in the house," Sergent Forner said. "People are lining the way and there’s bag pipes playing. It’s just kind of indescribable."
The Garage Bar located in the North Monroe business district held a philanthropic event Thursday evening raising money for Team GRPD. 15% of total sales from Thursday's event were donated to their cause alongside prized raffles and live music. Owner Kevin Farhat said the police are worth celebrating.
"It's a real special event, we love supporting GRPD," said Farhat.
GRPD will bike from New Jersey Monday, May 9 and arrive in D.C. Thursday that week.