The City of Jersey City honored their officers participating in the 23rd annual National Police Unity Tour this morning, also making it a point to honor the families of the local officers lost in recent memory.
“They ride for those who laid down their lives for total strangers. These who have sworn an oath to protect your people,” Jersey City Police Chaplain Deacon Robert Baker said as part of a ceremony at the Jersey City Police Officer Memorial.
“We gather here this morning and riders behind me ride because we attest to a solemn phrase that anyone who wears that uniform know that they are fallen and will never be forgotten.”
Dozens of law enforcement officers gathered to stand in support of not just their brothers and sisters in blue, but also the families of Officer Domenick Infantes, Det. Marc DiNardo, Det. Melvin Santiago and Lt. Christopher Robateau – who were all killed in the line of duty between 2001 and 2018.
Gwen DiNardo, the daughter of Marc DiNardo, recounted what it was like to lose her father back in 2009 as the result of being shot by a career criminal.
“My dad was looking forward to riding in his first unity tour, with my mom and us following him to D.C. with our minivan – which he lovingly called ‘The DiNardo Family Funmobile.’ It was exactly two months after he returned from national police week on July 16th, 2009, that my father, Det. Marc Anthony DiNardo, was in a violent shootout,” she recalled.
“He was shot in the face with a shotgun from a career criminal that my dad had arrested once before. Due to his injuries, he was pronounced brain dead and later died on July 26th, 2009 after donating his organs.”
While her father wouldn’t get a chance to ride in the Police Unity Tour again, her uncle, Paul DiNardo, has participated ever since.
That fact wasn’t lost on the officers who organized the event, who honored Paul DiNardo with a framed Police Unity Tour jersey as part of the ceremony.
In that vain, the four families of the slain officers all received a bouquet of flowers to acknowledge the sacrifice their loved ones made on duty.
Dignitaries that participated in the ceremony included Mayor Steven Fulop, Police Chief Michael Kelly, Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, County Undersheriff Andrew Conte and Bayonne Police Chief Robert Geisler.