Memorial bike ride honors Baton Rouge, Dallas law enforcement slain during 2016 ambush attacks

The family of fallen EBRSO Deputy Brad Garafola with memorial wreath presented by the LAPD. (Source: WAFB/Cheryl Mercedes)
The family of fallen EBRSO Deputy Brad Garafola with memorial wreath presented by the LAPD. (Source: WAFB/Cheryl Mercedes)
Officer Montrell Jackson, Officer Matthew Gerald and Deputy Brad Garafola (Source: WAFB)
Officer Montrell Jackson, Officer Matthew Gerald and Deputy Brad Garafola (Source: WAFB)
Source: WAFB/Cheryl Mercedes
Source: WAFB/Cheryl Mercedes

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A special memorial ride happened Sunday, May 7 to honor the law enforcement officers killed during two ambush attacks.

The Dallas-Baton Rouge Memorial bike ride is sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department to honor the officers killed in 2016.

"And until the July attacks of 2016, when we had the Dallas attacks and then the Baton Rouge attacks, we hadn't experienced a loss of this magnitude against any community and it's felt all across the country," said Los Angeles Police Department.

The Los Angeles Police Department has approximately 20 cyclists ride, including Sergeant Dave Budek, who helped coordinate the cross-country trek.

Budek says when Deputy Brad Garafola, Officer Matthew Gerald, and Corporal Montrell Jackson were killed on July 17, 2016 at the B-Quik gas station on Airline Highway, the hurt was felt nationwide.

"The community feels the loss. The loved ones know that we're there to celebrate those lives and to help them through the difficult times. It's not just law enforcement, it's the community together," said Budek.

It's that longing for a sense of community where an idea emerged from hundreds of miles away in California - to honor those fallen, beginning with riding cross-country and ending with a wreath laying ceremony at the site of the shooting.

"Their legacy lives on forever through us. Once an officer has paid the ultimate sacrifice, they become our guardian angels and we know that they're on our shoulders as we work every day and it's just an honor to have them and an honor to pay honor to them," said Chief Carl Dabadie with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

"It's just a testament that no matter what badge we wear, what state we live in, it is a thin blue line that stretches across the United States," said Sheriff Sid Gautreaux with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department. 

This ride also signifies the stretching of that line a bit further, to not only remember those that gave their lives for the sake of the community, but bridge the gap between police and the people they serve.

"We want to build bridges with the community and make sure people realize that we're here to serve them. We are their safe keepers in the community and we hope to kind of bridge that and make sure that people know that we're there for them," said Collins.

The ride began in Krotz Springs and continued for roughly 50 miles to the B-Quik gas station on Airline Hwy., which is the location where the tragic shooting occurred.

National Peace Officers Memorial Day is scheduled to be held on Monday, May 15, 2017. Several events, such as this one, will be held until and after that date to honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

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