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Cyclists ride for COPS charity

Cyclists ride for COPS charity Cyclists ride for COPS charity

Forty-six different bicyclists representing 26 different Indiana law enforcement agencies are biking nearly 1,000 miles around the perimeter of the state to raise funds for the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) charity.
The purpose of the charity is to raise awareness of and funds for Indiana’s chapter of COPS, and to honor Indiana’s police officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Funds raised provide financial assistance to family members of fallen officers by helping defray the costs associated with National Police Week and National COPS hands-on programs for children, siblings, parents, adult children and spouses of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, needs associated with criminal trials, ongoing support of survivors, and business and support meeting needs of COPS.
Last Wednesday morning, the tour made its way through Harrison County. Led by an Indiana State Police motorcycle escort, the cyclists ‘ who are using their own personal vacation time to participate ‘ started in Jeffersonville and came through New Albany then Lanesville before heading into Corydon for a late morning break. They later stopped for the night in Leavenworth. Along the way, the cyclists have had a chance to meet some of the survivors of fallen officers.
‘Last night at the FOP in Jeffersonville, we met with the (Frank) Denzinger family and that was really special,’ said ISP Master Trooper Rich Crawford.
Denzinger, an officer with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Dept., was shot and killed June 18, 2007, when he and another officer responded to a domestic disturbance near Edwardsville.
In the first two days of the ride, the bicyclists raised $8,000.
‘For me, it’s very rewarding and an honor to meet the survivors of officers killed in the line of duty,’ Crawford said. ‘We do 13 days of suffering, but that’s nothing compared to what the families of these officers go through. We don’t ever want the families or the officers to ever be forgotten.
‘At the start of every day, we read a roll call of officers killed in the line of duty in that day’s counties,’ he said. ‘This morning, we came through Floyd County and read the name of an officer killed in 1920. That officer’s family didn’t have anyone there and they probably didn’t know anything about the ride, but we said his name. When was the last time anyone said his name? He gave his life protecting others. In that way, he’s not forgotten. Every county we go through we do that and it brings everyone back into focus as to what this ride is about.’
Deputy Forrest Kieser of the Dubois County Sheriff’s Dept. rides in honor of a cousin, an ISP trooper who was killed 25 days before Kieser was born. A 21-year veteran of the force, this is Kieser’s fifth year of riding for the charity.
‘It’s a good cause, a fun ride and you spend time with fellow officers and friends. You can’t ask for anything more,’ Kieser said.
While Kieser didn’t really know Denzinger, the two officers had met once at a training session.
‘I didn’t get a chance to know him, but just like my cousin, by riding, we’re honoring them,’ Kieser said. This year the ride honors the seven officers killed in the line of duty last year in Indiana: Denzinger, Patrolman Benjamin (BJ) Wilcher Jr. of the Gary Police Dept., Cayuga Town Marshal Louis Dixon Beam, Sgt. Gary Wayne Henderson of the Shelbyville Police Dept., Cpl. Nick Samuel Polizzotto of the South Bend Police Dept., ISP Master Trooper David Edward Rich and ISP Trooper Daniel R. Barrett.
Photos of the fallen officers grace the side of a large panel truck donated to COPS by Jasper Engines.
The ride started July 21 in Indianapolis and concludes Aug. 2 in the Circle City.