The Jersey City Police Department paid tribute to their fallen officers at the 26th annual Police Unity Tour sendoff at Exchange Place’s Owen Grundy Park before they made their way to Washington, D.C.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
Among those honored were Det. Marc Anthony Di Nardo, Det. Melvin Santiago, Lt. Chris Robateau, and Det. Joseph Seals – the officer slain during the December 10th, 2019 domestic terrorism attack on a Kosher deli in Greenville.
Mayor Steven Fulop noted three of the four honored officers died while he was in office.
“Three have been under my administration and that’s three too many. It’s not lost on us the challenges that you all face day in and day out and the thin line that you like to discuss and speak about and we do that with you,” he said.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez noted Cathy McBride, the mother of Santiago, and Rose Robateau, the wife of Christopher, were present.
“We’ll always be there for you. You are riding to keep those memories alive. We will not forget,” she said.
“The death toll of police officers increases every year. So we need you to keep it going. We need to be here to support law enforcement,” County Commissioner Anthony “Stick” Romano, a former Hoboken police captain, said to the riders.
McBride addressed the murder of her son during the press event.
“Melvin was senselessly killed on July 13, 2014, by a coward who thought he’d become famous by murdering a police officer. Clearly, that didn’t happen but what his actions did do is rip an amazing human being away from his family, his friends, and his department,” McBride stated.
“He wanted safer streets and to promote a positive police image. In the short seven months of his career, he was well on his way to achieving that.”
She also said he played basketball with the kids living in public housing projects during his time off.
“The pain never eases. The memories of what were and what will never be are more than I can ever share. My heart is forever broken and there is no moving on but we do move forward. You have helped ease the ache beyond words,” McBride added.
A bell was then rung once for every one of the 49 officers who died while on duty.
Along with Jersey City officers, Port Authority, Newark, Trenton, Holmdel, Elizabeth, and Edison police rode too.
They were accompanied by officers from other cities including Ossining and Yonkers, NY, New Castle, DE, and Stamford, CT.
“Every year more and more officers are killed in the line of duty. Remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty is the least we can do for our fallen brothers and sisters and their families,” Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association President Andrew LaBruno said in a statement.
“Godspeed to those riding and thank you for raising funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial and Museum so that the fallen are never forgotten.”
The Jersey City Police cycling team secured $70,000 in donations for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in honor of those who died in the line of duty.
Over the course of the four-day Unity Tour, thousands of police officers from around the nation will bike together to reach the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The journey from Jersey City to Washington, D.C. is 320 miles.
The tour began at the World Trade Center and went through the Holland Tunnel.