Starting May 9, five members of the Haverhill Police Department plan to ride 300 miles from Floram Park, N.J., to Washington, D.C. to pay tribute to their brothers and sisters in blue killed in the line of duty.
As part of the 2019 Police Unity Tour, Sergeant Nicholas Brown, Sergeant Joseph Ingham, Officer Jason Pearl, Officer Chris Dondero and Officer Nicole Donnelly have decided to pay special tribute to fallen Massachusetts Sergeants Sean Gannon and Michael Chesna.
They’ll also take part in several activities along the way as part of National Police Week, Pearl tells WHAV. Toward the end of the Unity Tour’s four-day trek, Haverhill’s contingent will join agencies from across the country—including as close to home as Plaistow, N.H.—to pedal and motor to Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium and along the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Once there, the officers, all wearing the same uniform and riding two-by-two, ride a solemn loop around the landmark in tribute to the more than 22,000 officers killed in the line of duty whose names appear on the memorial. Many of the fallen officers’ family members’ line the route, making for an emotional ride, says five-time participant Pearl.
“The combination of the agony of the ride—knowing that you finally made it and accomplished it, plus what it signifies—sits with all of us deeply, he tells WHAV. “It’s the reason why we continue to go back year after year and feel like we have to do it.”
Next year, the group hopes to pay tribute to fallen Provo, Utah, Officer Joseph Shinners, killed trying to apprehend a suspect earlier this year. Posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant, Shinners is the brother of current Haverhill Police Detective Michael Shinners and former Officer Thomas Shinners.
To raise money for the 2019 Unity Tour, Team Haverhill plans a fundraiser at the Crescent Yacht Club Saturday starting at 2 p.m., with appetizers, raffles, and a silent auction among the activities planned to help the group raise the $2,000 per rider necessary to take part in the ride.
Can’t make the fundraiser but still want to donate? Drop a check—made payable to the Police Unity Tour—off at the Bailey Boulevard police station at 40 Bailey Boulevard any time before May 7.