Riders Honor Fallen Police Officers; the Trip Is to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C
Dickson, Terry, The Florida Times Union
Byline: TERRY DICKSON
BRUNSWICK -- As he set out on a 950-mile bike ride Monday, Jacksonville Beach Police Sgt. Jose Medina had the name of a fallen officer on his wrist and others in his heart.
Each of the 15 police officers on the 12-day trek from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynn County to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington wore an aluminum wrist band with the name of an officer who died in the line of duty.
Holding out a bracelet with the name Cpl. Mario Jenkins, Medina said he didn't actually know the details of what happened.
Jenkins' story, as told by Web sites on police deaths, is that of an accidental shooting. A University of Central Florida police officer, Jenkins was working undercover outside the Citrus Bowl in September 2005 when he fired some warning shots into the air as drinkers at a party became aggressive. An auxiliary officer who responded to the gunfire saw Jenkins armed and out of uniform and fatally shot him.
Medina said he also was riding for other officers, particularly one from his home department killed nearly 80 years ago.
"What motivated me was the [Jacksonville Beach] city marshal killed in June 1927," Medina said.
Marshal Charles Benjamin Jones was keeping the public away from a controlled blast to remove some pipe, Medina said.
"They thought they were far enough away, but they weren't," he said.
The explosion sent a piece of pipe flying that struck Jones in the side killing him. It is just now that Jones' death is being recognized as having occurred in the line of duty, Medina said.
The ride is an addition to the Police Unity Tour, a 250-mile ride that will start May 10 in Virginia Beach and end at the national memorial May 12. Since it began in 1997 when 18 riders raised $18,000 for the memorial, the Unity Ride has grown steadily. In nine years participants have raised $2.2 million for the memorial, which now has the names of more than 15,000 sworn officers.
The 15 officers and agents who started at FLETC will join about 200 other riders in Virginia Beach. Each rider must be a sworn officer and must raise $1,500 for the memorial.
Ellen Pierson, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement senior special agent from Tampa, was riding for Eryk Todd Heck. …