Berks

Law Enforcement United ride starts in Reading, heads to DC

Law Enforcement United ride starts in...

READING, Pa. - Officers who serve together, ride together, at the fifth Law Enforcement United ride.

"We only get to see each other once a year, but we pick up where we left off on May 9, when everybody arrives," said Muhlenberg Township police Ofc. Samuel Calabria.

"We do a three-day trek from Reading, Pennsylvania, is our starting point, to Washington, D.C.," said Baltimore police Ofc. Dustin Schappell.

Schappell is among the officers riding, but he's reverent while near Reading City Hall. His brother-in-law, Reading police Ofc. Scott Wertz was killed in the line of duty near City Hall in 2006. Wertz was responding to a call about a fight outside of a convenience store when a suspect shot and killed him.

The officers are riding not only to honor the memory of fallen officers, but to help those they leave behind.

"We raise money for the C.O.P.S. Kids Camp and help support victims of the fallen officers and their families," Schappell said.

Wertz' widow, Trish, and their children attended the C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) Kids Camp.

"The kids who lost mom or dad in the line of duty, a chance for them to get together at COPS Kids Camp in August," said Calabria.

The officers also stopped to honor another fallen Reading police officer, Michael Wise, who was killed in a shootout with a shooting suspect in 2004.

The ride ends May 12, with a candlelight vigil the following day. They'll ride more than 220 grueling miles, and they said they're honored to do it if it means the families of their fallen brothers and sisters in blue aren't forgotten.

"Just pray for fair winds and warm skies for us for the next three days," said Schappell.


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