There was a small bicycle memorial ride organized last week by a few law enforcement officers to honor the fallen, as many events during National Police Week were canceled due to COVID-19. Police Week ended on Saturday, May 16 and although the Stanislaus County Peace Officers Memorial at Lakewood Memorial Park and the Police Unity Tour were canceled a few officers from Modesto Police Department (MPD), Ceres Police Department (CPD), and Riverbank Police Services (RPS) participated in a small but meaningful ride for those that died and that are not forgotten.
RPS Sergeant Lloyd MacKinnon was slated to participate in the Police Unity Tour once again; this would have been his third year riding in the tour that ends in Washington D.C. at the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
Instead, the local memorial ride on Wednesday, May 13 began at Modesto Police Department. Staff and officers participated in a small memorial and send off for the bike riders. Stanislaus DA Investigator Dave Wallace, retired MPD, helped organize the ride remembering his brother Dennis Wallace, who was killed in the line of duty. May 13 was also Dennis’s birthday. There were 10 cyclists that hit the streets on Wednesday.
As they headed down Highway 132 to the Dennis Wallace memorial sign the weather was just right. Once at the sign they stopped and took some pictures and told some stories about Dennis. They continued on to Fox Grove Fishing Access where Dennis was killed.
“Dave Wallace is super strong and an amazing human being,” stated MacKinnon. “He was able to tell stories about Dennis and about what happened. I just didn’t like to talk about it. I did not get into details. I know some of the intimate details. We talked and joked around a little bit.”
Dave’s son followed behind them for support in case of a flat tire and had Gatorades and a staple for the cyclists: Uncrustables.
They continued to Hughson and rode down Dennis Wallace Lane which was in a new development and then to a soccer field where there was another memorial for Dennis. The final destination was at Lakewood Memorial Park.
Deputy Jason Garner and CSO Raschel Johnson’s end of watch that occurred a few years ago brought their families out to the park as well. Crime Scene Investigator Mary Donahue was also killed in the line of duty and they visited her gravesite as well.
“I have lost too many friends in this agency over the past years,” added MacKinnon. “It is crazy to think that I personally know too many people on that wall.”
After a speech, salute, they observed a moment of silence and paid their respects to the fallen. Then they made their way to the wall where Newman Police Department Cpl. Ronil Singh’s name was added and a third blank wall stands.
Although the mission of the memorial ride was a success, MacKinnon and a fellow cyclist decided to continue the ride with a 100-mile goal. This led them to several other memorials throughout the 209 including Ripon, Salida and Riverbank where they stopped and had a moment of silence.
“Even though it was small it had the same effect on the family,” said MacKinnon. “With the Unity Tour we ride for those who died but we don’t forget either. That is part of it too, is that we are a moving memorial.”