05/07/2007

N.C. officers pedal to D.C. for National Peace Officer's Week

Monies raised will go to the families of slain officers

By STEVE LYTTLE
Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police contingent is planning a 400-mile-plus bicycle trip to Washington this week to raise money for the families of two officers shot and killed about six weeks ago.

The group will leave Charlotte on Wednesday and travel about 100 miles a day, reaching the nation's capital next Sunday in time for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service that launches National Peace Officers Week.

"The ride is actually open to anyone from the community," said trip organizer Ron Horton, information services manager for CMPD's Computer Technology Services.

Riders are securing pledges, and the money will go to the families of Officers Sean Clark and Jeff Shelton, who were shot March 31 at the Timber Ridge Apartments in northeast Charlotte and died early the next day.

Horton said it is early in the bicycle-riding season, so the group plans to take frequent breaks along the way.

"There will be rest stops about every 20 miles," he said. "If riders want to go 20 miles, then take a rest and ride in the van for the next 20, they can do that."

Police will carry bicycles back to Charlotte, but riders will be responsible for their own return.

"We'll stay mostly on four-lane roads and will have police escort," Horton added. "We are trying to make this as safe as possible."

Horton said riders have no fundraising goals set.

"We'll take whatever we can get," he said. "And we're also looking for donations of items to help the riders -- things like Gatorade."

The group will follow North Tryon Street and then N.C. 49 to Asheboro. From there, they will follow U.S. 220 to Greensboro, U.S. 29 to Danville, Va., U.S. 360 to Richmond, and then U.S. 1 to Washington.

Want to Ride or Donate?

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police bicycle trip to Washington begins about 9 a.m. Wednesday and will end next Sunday, when riders arrive in the District of Columbia for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service. If you want to donate or to ride, contact CMPD's Ron Horton, at 704-336-7252 or at rhorton@cmpd.org.

Copyright 2007 Charlotte Observer

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