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Darien Police Chief Rides for Fallen Officers

Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello will once again take part in the Police Unity Tour in May in honor of two Darien officers killed in the line of duty. He will be joining 1,200 bicyclists on a journey of more than 320 miles.

Lovello will be riding in commemoration of Officer William Bowman, who was killed in 1927, and Officer Kenneth Bateman Jr., who was killed in 1981. Both officers are memorialized with plaques in the Darien police headquarters. "Being given an opportunity to ride in this event, particularly for Officers Bowman and Bateman, is truly an honor," said Lovello, who is riding in the event for the second time.

The Police Unity Tour, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, started in New Jersey when a small group of police officers bicycled to support the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial in Washington, D.C., which honors all fallen law enforcement officers. The tour has grown into the largest single benefactor of the memorial, raising $1.1 million in 2010.

The tour starts in New Jersey and will first trek to Ground Zero in Manhattan, where a brief ceremony will be held commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The tour will then travel to the memorial. On May 13, the riders will assemble as a group at a candlelight vigil held annually at the memorial with many surviving family members of fallen officers in attendance.

Each rider, as part of his or her obligation to the fundraising, must raise at least $1,750. Lovello said, "Darien has always distinguished itself through its generosity, and this was no exception. Local merchants, business persons, friends, family and the Darien Police Association have been very supportive, and I'm very thankful."

Lovello has been training for the ride, usually working out with Don Kleber of the Department of Special Revenue and Branford Deputy Police Chief Tom Fowler, both of whom will participate in the tour this year.

Do you support the fundraising of the Police Unity Tour? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook and on Twitter .

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