Colts Neck Police Chief Kevin Sauter recently traveled to the nation’s capital — by bicycle — to take part in the 2013 Police Unity Tour to raise awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum, located in Judiciary Square in Washington, DC. The 2013 police unity tour, with the theme of “We Ride for Those Who Died,” started in Union Beach on Wednesday, May 8, and ended at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC on Sunday, May 12. Chief Sauter was one of four Monmouth County Police Chiefs, and just over two dozen officers on “Team Monmouth County,” who made the 300-mile ride on bicycle from New Jersey to Washington, DC during the annual Police Unity Tour, which, in total, saw about 1,800 participants.
“We started with about 200 officers on a special memorial ride from Union Beach to Ortley Beach, New Jersey, to honor the late Kyle Deatherage,” said Chief Sauter. “Kyle was an Illinois State Trooper who came to New Jersey to help in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and died in the line of duty soon after returning to Illinois.” The tour officially began the following day on May 9 in Delran, New Jersey, where the group continued to pay tribute to several fallen officers until they arrived in Washington, DC four days later.
“Participating in the memorial services along the way was very emotional,” said Chief Sauter. “Seeing family members of those who gave their life in the line of duty along the route and then, watching them come into the memorial in Washington was an unexplainable feeling.” Chief Sauter called the support for the riders “amazing,” noting how teams carried food, water, the police officers’ luggage, and coordinated the ride, especially when the group had to travel over bridges and cross major intersections.
Chief Sauter said it was difficult, not having trained too much for such a long ride. “The longest day of riding was 81 miles,” he said. “I should have gotten more seat time before the ride, but it certainly supports a good cause and I’m glad I participated. Though this was the first time I took part in the tour, it will not be the last. Every officer should do it at least once. I will never forget the experience. Nothing can be done to bring back our fallen officers, but, because of events like this ride, they are remembered for the heroes that they are.”
About $46,000 was raised this year by Police Unity Tour Chapter II Team Monmouth County. The team included police officers from Avon, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Colts Neck, Fair Haven, Lake Como, Neptune Township, Neptune City, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Wall Township, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State Department of Corrections. The Police Unity Tour began in 1997 with 18 officers biking from New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. For additional information about the tour, visit www.policeunitytour.com.
On a side note, congratulations to Chief Sauter’s daughter, Caitlin, on her recent graduation from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania