HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Over these next few days, police officers from around the world will bike to Washington, D.C. to remember those who were lost in the line of duty.
The 2023 Police Unity Tour will also honor Bristol officers Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy, who were ambushed and killed while responding to a call in October.
“They would have been the type of guys doing the ride today,” said Officer Conor Hogan, with the Bristol Police Department.
Hogan and Det. Peter Dauphinais are riding to honor DeMonte and Hamzy.
“They were the best of us,” Dauphinais said. “They were family men. They supported each and every one of them, the community. And they loved them.”
They joined officers from Hartford and Simsbury on Monday from Hartford Police Headquarters.
“We try to keep the memory alive as best as we can as much as we can of those lost in the line of duty, specifically in Hartford,” said Lt. Paul Cicero, of the Hartford Police Department.
Family members of the fallen officers said the tribute means the world. But, they said the pain and heartbreak never fades.
“Never goes away, never goes away,” said Ellen Fenton D’Angelo, the daughter of Hartford Officer Francis X. Fenton. “But, I’m very honored to be here for him.”
For the departments impacted by tragedy and loss, events like the ride help them through.
“There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of hurt, and it’s hard to navigate,” Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould said. “When you have people around you with a lot of love and caring, it’s just that much more helpful.”
The ride ends at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where they’ll be greeted by family, friends, fellow officers and survivors. This year, DeMonte and Hamzy’s names have been added to the memorial.
“It just hits close to home this year,” Hartford Chief Jason Thody said. “You realize what that sacrifice looks like up close. It changes how you look at events like this.”