Date: May 08, 2003
Press Release Number: 61-2003
Port Authority police officers will join more than 100 law enforcement colleagues at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 9, to kick off the 2003 Police Unity Tour, which will culminate in Washington with a vigil to honor officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The tour will begin at the World Trade Center site, where a brief tribute will be held to honor the 37 Port Authority and 23 New York City police officers lost on September 11, 2001. The caravan of officers on bicycles, many wearing wristbands bearing the names of fallen officers, will then begin their journey through the Holland Tunnel. The first stop on the tour will be at 5:30 p.m. in Woodbridge, N.J. The tour will make additional stops in Wilmington, Del. and Columbia, Md. Port Authority Police Officer Tom Kennedy said 400 riders will join the tour along the route.
The tour will culminate with a national vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington on Tuesday, May 15th, to honor fallen officers. The vigil is held each year as part of Police Week activities.
Port Authority Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety Charles D. De Rienzo said, \"This bike tour is a fitting tribute to the 37 Port Authority Police commanders and officers who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. These men and woman made the ultimate sacrifice and their heroism should never be forgotten.\"
The Police Unity Tour began in 1997 with 17 officers from New Jersey biking to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Riders have raised more than $300,000 for the memorial. The funds will help pay costs related to the inscription of fallen officers names on the memorial’s marble wall, as well as maintenance costs. Funds also will be put toward the construction of a law enforcement museum.
The names of 230 officers killed in the line of duty around the country last year already have been inscribed in the wall, including all 37 members of the PAPD who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Although the five-day trek will be physically challenging, the officers motivate one another to complete the ride, Officer Kennedy said.
\"Every time someone gets tired or feels pain, I tell them any one of the people on the memorial would give anything to trade places with them,\" Officer Kennedy said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the
George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.