Police bike ride honors fallen officers

July 19, 2010 4:27:07 AM PDT
The murder of Chicago police Officer Michael Bailey added extra importance to an already scheduled bike ride Sunday.Bailey is the third off-duty Chicago police officer killed in the last two months.

Sunday's 'Pedal for Police' was organized by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation in conjunction with the Illinois chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors sixth annual ride.

Approximately 500 riders participated. The riding path began at police headquarters at 35th Street and Michigan Avenue, then went to the Gold Star Families Memorial near Soldier Field and returned to police headquarters.

The purpose of the ride was to remember the fallen men and women in blue. But, unfortunately, it came on the same day the Chicago Police Department lost another officer to violence.

"It's sad, and it has really put a damper on this bike ride," said the memorial foundation's Phil Cline.

"This is supposed to be a happy occasion of healing, and it is, but to see, counting, 22 police officers have been killed since 1988, it makes me angry," said Donna Marquez tearfully. She is a member of Gold Star Families, which also participated in Sunday's ride.

The three organizations help families of the fallen officers.

Officer Alex Valadez was killed one year ago. Several of his family members rode Sunday.

"You try to get through one death, and you can't even heal from that one when the next one occurs, and then the next one occurs," said Brenda Valadez, the fallen officer's sister. "It's awful."

The thought of a third police officer killed since May was too much to comprehend for some. Slain officers Thomas Wortham, Thor Soderberg and Michael Bailey were on the minds of the families present Sunday.

"We keep talking about a lot of new families, and we keep getting bigger. And it's not supposed to be like that," Marquez told ABC7 Chicago.

The flags at Chicago Police Headquarters flew at half-staff Sunday for the fourth time this year. Police Sgt. Alan Haymaker died February on his way to a call when he lost control of his squad car on Lake Shore Drive.

Last week, the Chicago Police Department and loved ones attended funeral services for Officer Thor Soderberg who was shot and killed outside a department training facility.

Officer Thomas Wortham IV also was killed in May while he was off duty. Police say he was confronted by robbers and then shot outside his parents' South Side home.

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is expected to present Officer Bailey's family with a $50,000 check either Monday or Tuesday, and that money is intended to help off-set expenses the family might incur in the next couple of weeks.

ABC7 is told the foundation will also offer a $10,000 reward for the arrest or conviction of those responsible for Bailey's shooting death.


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