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Charity bike ride takes Arizona officers to nation’s capital

PHOENIX — About a dozen Arizona police officers and others were on their way to Virginia for a 250-mile bike ride to honor fallen officers.

Officers from Chandler, the Department of Public Safety, Glendale, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and other Arizona law enforcement agencies were going to participate in the Road to Hope memorial ride on their own time and dime.

Each rider represents a fallen officer. A flag with the officer’s name and photo are given to each family member at the finish line.

Money raised will benefit the Concerns of Police Survivors’ camp for kids, held across the country. (Arizona does not host a camp.)

Connie Searles with MCSO lost her father, a Wisconsin deputy sheriff, in the line of duty 31 years ago. She is one of a dozen riders from Arizona.

“Last year I rode in honor of the 30-year anniversary of losing my father,” she said.

“My mother was at the finish line so it was very emotional. This year I’m riding in honor of a fallen Indiana officer, Deputy Jacob Calvin.”

Calvin’s parents live in Phoenix, she said, and will be meeting her at the finish line.

Glendale police officer Dan Mooney will also take part in the ride from Chesapeake, Virginia, to Washington, D.C. The race begins May 10and concludes May 12.

“It’s very emotional seeing the survivors at the finish line, talking to the families and seeing how much it means to them. It’s just unbelievable,” he said.

More than 200 Arizonans will be attending National Police Week activities in the nation’s capital.

More than half are first-year survivors. Names of the 2014 fallen officers will be inscribed on the national wall.