BRADENTON (FOX 13) - Hearts are heavy at the Bradenton Police Department after five brothers in blue were killed - and almost a dozen more injured - by an attack in Dallas Thursday.
"Anytime we hear news like that, it makes us think about what we do and why we do it," said Lt. James Racky.
Lieutenant James Racky and a group of Bradenton officers will join with Manatee County sheriff's deputies on a memorial bicycle ride for fallen officers. The Hope Memorial Tour is a three-day, 250-mile ride in May. Each bicyclist rides for a fallen officer and raises money for their families.
"These families need to know we are a brotherhood. We care for these people even though we never met them. I would go on any call with anyone of these officers. I would have their back 24/7. Their families need to know we still care about them," said Lt. Racky.
The Dallas police shooting brings the reality of their sacrifices home for officers around the country, and for their families. Bay Area law enforcement said they are rallying with the rest of the country to bring peace to families of the victims.
"What goes through my wife's mind; to her, she just wants me to come home safe and I need to come home safe. My team need to come home safe. We need to all go home for our families," said Lt. Racky.
Five officers in Dallas will no longer go home to their families. Riders in the Hope Memorial Tour said it makes their upcoming journey even more important.
"Somebody might say we haven't lost any Manatee officers for many, many years. Why are we spending our time and efforts to bring awareness and take this long bike ride into D.C.? Today is an example of why we do that," said Chief Melanie Bevan, adding the ride is about the badge and the brotherhood. "It is important we come together as a community, as police across the nation, to show our respect for fallen officers. When we lose one, it hurts all of us," she said.
To donate to the Team Manatee in the Hope Memorial Tour , mail donations to:
Lieutenant James Racky
c/o Bradenton Police Department
100 10th Street West
Bradenton, Fl 34205