Hundreds of law enforcement officials bicycled hundreds of miles to Washington, DC to usher in the National Police Week events.
It was a moving demonstration put on by the Police Unity Tour, whose main purpose is to raise awareness of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The men and women traveled from different police stations, sheriff's departments, state police facilities and corrections offices from across the county.
What started with 18 riders in 1997, has grown in to nine chapters consisting of nearly 2,500 members nationwide who make the trip annually.
"We do this for the men and women who can't," said one corrections officer and bicyclist from New Jersey. "Every law enforcement official should do this once, if they can."
The second purpose of the unity tour is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial and Museum.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is centered Washington, DC and is the nation’s monument to officers who have died in the line of duty. Dedicated on October 15, 1991, the memorial honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers. In April, fallen Rockford Police Officer Jaimie Cox's name was engraved on the memorial wall. If you visit the memorial, you can find it in section 27 W 31.
The memorial features marble walls with the names of more than 21,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, dating back to the first known death in 1791, according to the memorial's website.
Officer Cox died on Nov. 5, 2017 during a traffic stop. The Winnebago County Coroner's Office says he died of blunt force trauma possibly due to a crash. The driver of that suspect vehicle, 49-year-old Eddie Patterson, also died. According to city officials he died of gunshot wounds likely caused after Officer Cox fired his gone during the incident. An investigation in to both of their deaths is ongoing.
Officer Cox, along with 360 other law enforcement officers who died in 2017, will be honored this week during National Police Week. On Sunday evening, thousands of people will gather on the National Mall for a candlelight vigil. Featured speakers include U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and other police survivors and memorial fund officials.
On Tuesday, a ceremony from the lawn of the U.S. Capitol will be held.
13 News will bring you live updates on 13 News, online and on Facebook Live from all of these events.