Riding for those who died
The school resource officer at Harris Middle School is raising money for her bike ride this spring with the Police Unity Tour in Virginia to Washington, D.C., because she remembers a fellow officer killed in the line of duty.
Bedford County Sheriff's Deputy Kim Moses Brown was a campus police officer at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, patrolling on a bicycle during the overnight shift when she met Kay Rogers, a motorcycle officer with the Murfreesboro Police Department.
Rogers was the first female African American officer with that department and its first African American motorcycle officer. She was very safety minded, Brown said. But on Nov. 9, 2005, while on routine patrol, another motorist made a U-turn and Rogers crashed into the car, causing her death within some 90 minutes.
Deputy Brown met her husband, Murfreesboro Police Officer Gregg Brown, while working the same shift as Officer Rogers. The trio came to know, respect and rely on each other, producing a camaraderie that comes with adversity and off-beat hours.
Brown and her husband will both be riding in the Police Unity Tour, she said, explaining that since her friend's death there have been other well-publicized deaths of law enforcement officers and each time they were buried, Deputy Brown remembered Rogers and felt a need to do something to memorialize her.
"The Police Unity Tour is a 300-mike bicycle ride that is for three days, May 10-12," she said. "The ride takes place to raise money and awareness for the Police Memorial Wall and Museum."
In 1991, President George Bush dedicated the memorial to honor federal, state and local law enforcement officers. Inscribed on its blue-gray marble walls are the names of more than 17,800 officers killed in the line of duty dating back to the first known death in 1792.
"It became a little more personal with Kay's name being added to the wall," said Brown, explaining the moment when she decided to "go ahead and do it."
She became aware of the Police Unity Tour through a police mountain bike course she took to become a certified cyclist for the MTSU campus police. The tour also raises funds for the proposed National Law Enforcement Officers Museum, planned to be the most comprehensive law enforcement museum and research facility in the world.
The museum is expected to cost about $25 million. Construction can't start until funding is in place and a design is approved. That's expected to take five years.
Officers pay $125 to enter the ride as well as raise $1,250. Donations are welcome, Deputy Brown said, explaining they're tax deductible and may be made on a secure Internet website, www.policeunitytour4.org . Checks maybe sent to Police Unity Tour, P.O. Box 2323, Antioch, TN 37011. It's important to include the name of the officer who's being sponsored by the donation of any amount.
Officers participating may also serve as support personnel in case riders suffer injuries, and for maintenance during the event.
Participating officers in this area include the Browns, Murfreesboro Police Officers Jacoby O'Gwynn and Amy Cassidy, and Warren County Deputy Bobby Pennington.
There will be some 400 riders, Deputy Brown said. The Browns and their friends will drive from Murfreesboro to Chesapeake, Va., where the ride starts to the Jefferson Memorial on the Potomac River at Washington, D.C.
While Brown has patrolled MTSU from a bike saddle, she does not currently own a bicycle. But she's selected a couple of brands and models which are her choices for her eventual purchase this spring and the ride in May.