End of an Era

Some people who have followed my my cop galleries wrote to me to ask if I participated in Law Ride this year, which has been held on the Sunday of Mother’s Day in mid-May each year. That is a motorcycle ride that assembles at a stadium in Washington, DC, rides past the U.S. Capitol Building, then arrives at the Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony.

In years past, this event was attended by hundreds of motor officers from all over the United States. However, in recent years, participation has declined remarkably. Last year was the worst-attended and -participated, so I said to myself…

…”this is probably ‘it’.”

And it was.

While the day of this event this year turned out to have pleasant weather (thought it had rained early that morning), the group with whom I usually rode to this event had disbanded. This was a group of retired police officers who rode motorcycles, and had formed a chapter of a motorcop riding club. (I am deliberately not using the name of this club because I do not want search engines to find it.) I was made an honorary member of that club about ten years ago. I would wear my vest with the club colors that day, so when we rode to the event, we were given special placement in the lineup, right behind the active motorcops on police bikes. After us, thousands of wannabes would follow.

This year, since the local chapter of this club disbanded due to retirements and deaths, I had no official club affiliation any more, so if I were to ride to the event, I would be placed in the back of the pack with the wannabes. So that decided it.

Later I learned from a friend who attended the event that there were about 15 active motor officers at the event, and about 500 wannabes. Nothing like the glory days of hundreds of officers and thousands of supporters. Peak participation was in 2009.


U.S. Capitol, May 13, 2012

I think this event has declined so much in participation because police agencies are less willing to allow their officers to transport or ride their official police motors out of jurisdiction; most police agencies will not allow paid time off (administrative leave) for their officers to go to Washington DC for Police Week — which has been held (sort of) about the same time as Law Ride; and further, those who have participated in this event year after year are aging, and there are fewer younger “official” riders to replace them. Like what happened to my local retired police motorcycle riding club — membership has declined precipitously (at least in the area where I live.)

So it is with regret that 2016 marked the end of my participation in Law Ride. It was fun while it lasted, but is no longer a part of my annual Spring motorcop events to attend.

Life is short: respect those who serve with pride and honor.