In 2010, the Taylor Police Department lost two members within less than three months when Cpl. Matthew Edwards was shot and killed in the line of duty and Auxiliary Lt. Dan Kromer was stuck and killed while assisting a stranded motorist.

Cpl. Edwards’ death marked the first time a Taylor officer had been killed in the line of duty in the department’s long history.

The Taylor Police continue to memorialize both men by participating in the 2014 Police Unity Tour. This year, Officers John Marimpietri, Chuck Monette and Rick Barnosky will participate in the event, along with Police Chief Mary Sclabassi’s husband, Rich. Back in 2011, two other members of the department started the Unity Tour participation. In 2013, Cpl. Steve Schwein (pictured on the left) and Cpl. Greg Piche were the riders. Piche was Edwards’ partner the morning he was killed and Schwein was the detective in charge of the homicide trial of the man accused of killing him.

This year’s trio of riders will ride with officers from Chapter VII (Southern California). They will make an approximate 240-mile journey that will take them through a number of states, departing from Somerset, New Jersey, on May 10 and arriving in Washington, D.C. two days later. Upon arriving in Washington, they will join other chapters of the Unity Tour and a group of about 1,600 riders, who will enter the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial as one collective group.

Marimpietri, Monette and Barnosky are seeking sponsors in their “Ride for Those Who Died” effort. For further information, call the Taylor Police Department at (734) 287-7611. Donations can be made to the Taylor Police Officers Labor Association in care of the Police Unity Tour at 23515 Goddard Road, Taylor, MI, 48180. The fund is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code, with a tax identification number of 22-3530541. If you care to send checks via mail, make them payable to the "Police Unity Tour" and send them to the Taylor Police Department, ATT: Stephen Schwein, 23515 Goddard, Taylor, MI, 48180.

The Police Unity Tour was first organized in May 1997, by Officer Patrick Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department. The focus was to increase public awareness of police officers who died in the line of duty. That tour started with 18 riders on a four-day fund-raising tour and raised $18,000. Last year’s tour involved nearly 1,600 riders nationwide and resulted in $1.7 million for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing the tour’s total donations to nearly $13 million.

The money goes toward operating a memorial visitor’s center and museum, researching old and new deaths of officers, conducting ceremonies and events at the memorial, work toward prevention of police fatalities, promoting the memorial as a tourist attraction, recognizing the anniversaries of all of the deaths and general maintenance of the memorial.