Dozens of North Carolina law enforcement officers joined the annual 300-mile-bike ride to honor fallen officers for this year’s Police Week.
The 300-mile-trek spanned three days as the cyclists made their way through each area in the state that suffered a casualty.
The tradition began in 2007 following the deaths of Officers Sean Clark and Jeff Shelton, when officers decided to ride from Charlotte and to D.C. where the officers’ names were being added to the memorial wall.
At the end of the ride, the officers attended the Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and since then they have repeated the tradition ever year during Police Week.
However, this year they decided to skip D.C. due to COVID-19 restrictions, and instead planned their route to ride through each of the regions with fallen officers.
Katie Anderson of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) explained, “We made the decision not to go to D.C., but we had plenty of, unfortunately, officers in North Carolina to remember, and so that brought us to Concord this morning. We are here in Mooresville today (Monday) because we didn’t get to ride in 2020 for K-9 Officer Sheldon,” Anderson said.
She continued, “We will then make our way to Hendersonville for the Henderson County Sherriff deputy who was killed and then come down the mountain, hit Mount Holly to remember their fallen officer and then we will head home to Charlotte. So three days, just over 300 miles.”
According to the Statesville Record & Landmark, the CMPD also uses the bike ride to promote and raise funds for their non-profit Charlotte’s Finest Legacy Foundation, which aims to raise money for scholarships for children interested in law enforcement, and to provide financial support to families who may have been impacted by the loss of an officer.
Three Mooresville police officers, Tim Taylor, Aaron Moore and Jordan Compton, decided to join the ride this year. Taylor and Moore have done the ride before, while for Compton it will be his first time.
“I’ve done it for the last several years because the other officers gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Moore said. “To endure and keep their memory alive is what’s important.”
Taylor, who has ridden for six events, explained how the ride was shortened due to COVID-19 restrictions, but that it’s still a great way to remember fallen officers and show support for their families. He also mentioned how the ride brings officers together and is great for camaraderie.
“The majority of these folks (riding) are CMPD, but you have highway patrol, you have different agencies. I get to see guys that I only see once a year, and a lot of them are retiring because everybody’s starting to get up in age. So, I just think it’s the greatest cause, and the camaraderie,” Taylor said.
Compton wanted to pay tribute to fallen Mooresville K-9 officer Jordan Harris Sheldon, who was killed in 2019. “We all worked with Sheldon. You know, obviously when he was killed, there was a huge outcry of support from the community, which was great to see, and it was refreshing to see that the community supported us like that in that time.”