Jersey City officials and community members joined their police department in paying tribute to fallen officers as part of a kickoff for the annual Police Unity Tour.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
Over the course of a week, the 50 officers participating will ride from Jersey City to Washington, DC.
Despite the tour being shortened from four days to one due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jersey City Police Cycling Team raised $100,000 for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum. Last year’s tour was cancelled altogether.
“It is a tough environment to be a police officer. There’s a lot of questions that are valid questions on what policing looks like in today’s world, questions around transparency and accountability,” Mayor Steven Fulop said.
“We think those are good questions and a good conversation to be having, but at the same time, you should recognize the fact that we appreciate the work that you do. We believe we have the best police department in the State of New Jersey, if not the country, here in Jersey City.”
Police Director Tawana Moody, Hudson County Sheriff FranK Schillari, and Hudson County Commissioner Anthony Romano, a retired Hoboken police captain, all also expressed their support during the course of this morning’s event.
“Between the pandemic and the turbulence going on in the law enforcement world, this police unity tour is needed now more than ever for our sisterhood and brotherhood to get us through these tough times,” Romano stated.
Additionally, Gwen DiNardo spoke about her fallen father, Det. Marc DiNardo, who was killed in the line of duty in July 2009.
“My dad had arrested him in the past for possession of illegal firearms. That criminal was out of prison early, sold more guns, and returned to his life of crime where he used an illegal firearm to shoot and kill my dad,” she said regarding the man who fatally shot her father.
“Unfortunately we were not able to go and participate in police week last year due to COVID and it was so heartbreaking.”
Flowers were presented to the family members of fallen police officers including the Seals Family, survivors of Det. Joseph Seals who died in the December 2019 kosher market shooting; the Infantes Family, survivors of Police Officer Domenick J. Infantes, Jr., Cathy McBride and the survivors of Det. Melvin Santiago; as well as the Robateau family, the survivors of Lt. Christopher Robateau.
Additionally, a helicopter flew over the ceremony and water was shot out of the cannons from a Jersey City Fire Department boat stationed behind the ceremony to honor the fallen victims.