Saturday, May 9, 2009

CCSO Members Prepare for Police Unity Tour

The 13th Police Unity Tour begins Sunday in Portsmouth, Va., which means 142 members of the Florida P.U.T. chapter will embark on a three-day journey that they will never forget. For those members, including 11 of us from CCSO, today was a day full of meetings and last-minute preperations.

All CCSO participants arrived at the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth safely Friday night and checked in with our medical team. The medical staff collected information about each rider's medical history, allergies, and emergency contact information that we hope they won't need to use this week. The medical team will follow behind our riders in two ambulances during the ride, just in case.

This morning was spent shuttling people and vehicles to and from the Norofolk International Airport, picking up last-minute items like a bagel donation from a local restaurant, and checking to make sure our riders didn't forget important items like their bike or water bottle. Members were also required to attend a safety briefing and general membership meeting. This was the last chance for important information to be conveyed to everyone. We received an overview of key locations along our route (like the bridge with the tire-eating grates where all riders must dismount and walk their bike across), safety information, and instructions on where to drop off suitcases Sunday so that they be delivered to the correct hotel.

Each member also received a blue bracelet inscribed with the name and end-of-watch information for an officer who died in 2008. These names will be inscribed on the wall of the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial this week and the bracelets are a constant reminder of why we are here. When we are hot, tired, hungry, and exhausted the next three days, the simple blue metal band keeps us pedaling and reminds us that we are lucky to be here to honor these fallen heroes.

- Krista Williamson, CCSO -