WESTWOOD, N.J.– The Police Unity Tour is unlike anything Westwood Police Officer Danielle Neuberger had ever experienced before.
As soon as she had the chance, she made the near 300-mile bike ride from New York City to Washington D.C. to honor her fellow officers killed in the line of duty.
This year, Neuberger and dozens of active and retired officers -- from towns including Botota, Englewood, Montvale, Old Tappan and Park Ridge -- will join colleagues from across the country for the May event.
"There's really nothing you can compare it to. It's overwhelming," Englewood Police Officer Tim Barrett told Daily Voice. "It brings a tear to your eye."
Headed toward its third decade, the annual tour raises awareness of fallen law enforcement officers -- as well as funds for the expansion, maintenance and preservation of the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
The ride is part of National Police Week, during which a variety of special events are held, including a candlelight vigil that regularly draws tens of thousands to the memorial to dedicate the names of those officers who died in the line of duty across the U.S. last year.
What began with 18 cyclists in Florham Park in 1997 has grown to nearly 2,000 nationwide who'll be making this spring's trip.
Besides Neuberger and Barrett, members of the Bergen County contingent include Officers Ana Bedoya (Englewood); Alisha Foley (Montvale); Jerome Fowler (Bogota); Wilbur Lloyd (Bergen County Sheriff's Office); Pete Mauro (Park Ridge); and Katie Weaver (Old Tappan).
Participants come from other countries, as well, and leave from six "spokes" along the East Coast.
Each has pledged to raise the minimum $2,000 required to participate.
Last year's ride produced a shade under $2 million in donations, bringing the total since 1997 to nearly $18 million.
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