Next month, the widow of North Las Vegas police detective Chad Parque will fly to New Jersey, climb onto the bike she has been practicing on for months and pedal 200 miles to Washington D.C. to honor her husband.
She won’t be alone. Ten officers with North Las Vegas will ride alongside Jessica Parque. Twenty-six other local law enforcement officials will be there too, including 20 Metropolitan Police Department officers and detectives.
“It’s a big team effort,” Metro detective Rachel Calderon said. “It’s not a race. The whole point is everybody starts together and everybody finishes together.”
The Police Unity Tour is a national, annual event. The motto of the tour is “We Ride for Those Who Died.”
Calderon has participated the last four years to honor close friend and co-worker Milburn “Millie” Beitel III. He was killed in a Las Vegas patrol car crash in 2009.
The tour begins in Florham Park, New Jersey, then weaves through several small towns and a few bigger cities until the hundreds of riders reach D.C., where the cheering families of fallen officers greet them.
“When we pass schools, the teachers will bring the kids out to show us support,” said Metro detective Richard Golgart, who will be participating in his 12th unity tour this year. His daughter, Rylie Golgart, was injured in the Las Vegas mass shooting.
“We’ve got several residents along the way that have the Thin Blue Line flags hanging out of their windows or balconies,” Golgart added. “A lot of the smaller substations or police stations along the way will come out and support us.”
The event ends at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C., where the names of each officer killed in the line of duty last year will be added, including Chad Parque.
Parque died after a wrong-way crash on Jan. 6, 2017, which occurred just as he was pulling out of the North Las Vegas Justice Court. He and his wife were high school sweethearts. Parque also left behind a child.
The ride begins May 9 and ends in D.C. on May 12. A candlelight vigil in the nation’s capital is slated for May 13.
“Even though it sucks, and you go through a lot of pain, because it’s not easy,” Calderon said of biking for so many miles, “just to see the families when we’re coming into D.C., it helps us know that they’re not alone.”
A local show, “Rock for the Ride,” is raising money for this year’s group of local Police Unity Tour participants.
When: Sunday, April 22. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.
Where: Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
Artists: Femmes of Rock, Michael Grimm, Silversage, Jason Brown, The Las Vegas Emerald Society Piper Band
More info: policeunitytourvegas.com