Members of the Police Unity Tour and their Israeli counterparts at the Beit Shemesh police academy Monday.
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Fifteen officers from the Israeli police force took part in an annual cycling event in the US intended to remember those in uniform who died in the line of duty around the country, called the "Police Unity Tour."
Three-thousand officers participated in the cycling event, riding over 450 kilometers together. The Israeli officers present at the event hail from all across the State, and will continue to take part in in the joint ventures in the future.
The Police Unity Tour was established in 1997 to honor officers killed in the line of duty.
“The motto of the Police Unity Tour is ‘We ride for those who died,’ and last year when we came here we did a one-day bike tour with Israeli officers, and in May we had 12 Israeli officers ride with us from New Jersey to our police memorial in Washington, DC, to participate in a candle-lighting vigil for fallen US officers,” Chief of the Essex Country Sheriff's Office Deputy Division Michael Safris said during a previous delegation to Israel.
American delegations have participated in Police Unity Tour events in the past within Israel - most recently in 2017.
During their stay, the US delegation was housed at the Beit Shemesh police academy, where they participated in multiple counterterrorism training exercises, met with elite units, and were briefed by former Israeli Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich.
The delegation concluded following a September 11 memorial service held at the 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in the Arazim Valley.
Safris, 72, who is Jewish and has hosted Israeli police delegations in the US for the past 10 years, said he has visited Israel 40 times.
“From all my trips, I know the delegation forms an important relationship, and if something happens in the US or something happens here, we stay in touch and honor each country’s fallen officers,” Safris said then. “The relationship and comradery developed over the last two years is one of the reasons we keep coming.”
“In our communities, for a lot of police officers, it’s a job, and I think that it’s more than a job for a lot of the officers in Israel because they are protecting their homeland,” he said. "“They are protecting a way of life here.”Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.
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