By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleMay 30, 2014
Fort Belvoir, Va. (May 30, 2014) - The Fort Belvoir Police Department motorcycle unit escorted Families of Law Enforcement Officers killed in the line of duty in 2013 during National Police Week, May 6-16.
President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation on Oct. 1, 1962 which designated May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which the date falls as National Police Week.
Belvoir's motorcycle unit was responsible for escorting the Families from Reagan National Airport to their hotel, and to all the events during the week.
"We are making sure they are getting to each event safely," said Officer Stephen Thomas, Fort Belvoir Motorcycle Police. "So, we are honoring the fallen officers by taking care of their Families."
Officers escorted the Families to the candlelight vigil, National Police Survivors Conference, the 12th Annual Steve Young Honor Guard Competition, the 33rd Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service and a trip to the FBI Academy at Marine Corps Base, Quantico.
The trip to Quantico is the highlight of the week since the children of the Fallen Officers get a chance to do some fun activities, according to Lt. Robert Alderman, Fort Belvoir Motorcycle Police, watch commander.
"They get an all day tour," said Alderman. "The police officers take them, and we do a gauntlet with them once we get there and give them patches and stuff like that. It makes you feel good, knowing they were able to enjoy themselves and they have people that care about them."
Alderman has worked in law enforcement for 12 years, the last three with the Belvoir Motorcycle Police. The department began asking its' officers in 2008 if they were interested in training to become motorcycle officers. Three said yes, so they and the two that have joined the unit since were sent to a two-week course at Northwestern University.
The course is sponsored by Harley Davidson Motor Company, and teaches fundamentals from how to get on the bike to controlling it while riding.
"You see guys on street bikes laid back and relaxing," said Alderman. "This one, you need to get the center of gravity on the bike. It looks like we are up on the front of the bike when we are riding, and that's so you can keep your center of gravity so you can move out of the way or make a quick u-turn if you have to."
The unit is responsible for escorting VIP guests, dignitaries and Medal of Honor recipients when they come on post, in addition to funeral escorts and assisting with the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington, D.C.
The unit's responsibility during the escorts is very simple, according to Alderman.
"Our job is to get them from point A to point B as fast as possible without any hiccups," said Alderman. "We just want to make their day goes as smooth as possible."
The unit does have speed enforcement jurisdiction on post. Alderman said most drivers don't realize they are around, so ticketing motorists tends to be easy for him and the rest of the unit.
"Our main thing is safety," said Alderman. "We try to get in the housing areas to slow people down, because there are children waiting for the school bus and playing outside that we don't want reckless drivers to endanger."
Though escorts and speed enforcement may not be glamorous, Alderman is pleased with the service he and his unit provide.
"Everyone appreciates it when you come out to help regardless of what the escort is," said Alderman. "It's good to get the relationship between the military and the community."