SOUTH PASADENA — A South Pasadena police sergeant is training for a 300-mile bike ride to honor a fellow officer who died during a training exercise last year.
Sgt. Tony Abdalla will represent the South Pasadena Police Department, the late Officer Kevin Sandoval and Sandoval’s family as he rides his bicycle alongside hundreds of other law enforcement officers at the upcoming Police Unity Tour, department officials said.
The 3-day trek, which is designed to honor fallen officers from all over the country, departs from from Somerset, New Jersey on May 10 and ends in Washington, DC. The ride coincides with National Police Week and is capped off with a candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
“I’m truly honored and privileged to be able to participate in the 2012 Police Unity Tour in memory of Kevin and to honor his family,” Abdalla said. “Kevin left us way too soon and the tour is an amazing event that keeps his candle burning bright.”
Sandoval, 23, was a 3-year veteran of the South Pasadena Police Department when he suffered a sudden and fatal heart attack while participating in a training exercise at the Burro Canyon Shooting Park north of Azusa on June 14, 2011, officials said.
Abdalla is a 22-year South Pasadena police veteran and an avid bicyclist in his free time.
When given a chance to represent the department and Sandoval, “I jumped at the opportunity,” he said.
The Police Unity Tour raises awareness of police officers who have died in the line of duty, as well as raises funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington, DC.
More than 1,300 cops took part last year, raising more than $1.5 million in donations, officials said. The motto of the event is: “We Ride For Those Who Died.”
Every rider is committed to raising at least $1,800 for the museum, organizers said, and that does not include the equipment and logistical expenses associated with participating in the tour.
Tax deductible donations to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum can be made in Abdalla’s name by visiting www.socalput.com.
Donations to fund Abdalla’s ride can be made in his name and sent in care of the South Pasadena Police Officers Association, 1422 Mission Street, Unit S., Pasadena, CA 91030.