Cops Cycling for Survivors participants cycle down Ohio Street at the start of this year’s ride Monday in Indianapolis. Noah Crenshaw | Daily Journal

INDIANAPOLIS — For the next two weeks, two dozen cyclists will ride their bikes across Indiana to remember and honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year — including two from Johnson County.

The 24 current and retired law enforcement officers, their families, community members and the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty gathered Monday morning at the Indiana Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Memorial in downtown Indianapolis to kick off the 23rd annual Cops Cycling for Survivors bicycle ride. The 13-day ride will take the 24 officers and support team across the entire state to pay respect to Indiana’s fallen officers, deputies and troopers and to let their survivors know they and their loved ones are not forgotten.

“The thin blue line is far from thin,” said Cpl. Justin Reeder, of the Porter County Sheriff’s Office, during the ride’s opening ceremony. “We support you. We will always remember your officer and we love you all.”

As the 24 cyclists make their way through the state, they stop at cemeteries, crash sites and crime scenes to memorialize the officers who died. They also place flags in those areas so the fallen officers’ loved ones know they are never forgotten, said Chad Dick, compliance specialist for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and a retired ISP trooper. He’s on the support truck for the mission, helping make sure the cyclists get from place to place safely.

“That’s the mission of the ride, that these officers’ sacrifice and the sacrifices the families have made are never forgotten,” Dick said.

Seven law enforcement officers, including two with local ties, died in the line of duty in 2023.

Indiana State Police Trooper Aaron N. Smith, of Franklin, was killed on June 28, 2023, after a man allegedly veered into him intentionally during a police chase, while Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tim Guyer, of Trafalgar, died on Aug. 1, 2023, from a heart attack while in training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Other line-of-duty deaths include Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Deputy Asson Hacker, ISP Master Trooper James R. Bailey, Indiana Department of Correction Maintenance Foreman Michael Robert Keel, Tell City Police Sgt. Heather Glenn and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy John Durm. Gary Police K-9 Falco also died in the line of duty.

All of these officers are being honored with the ride, as will the other 476 officers killed in the line of duty throughout Indiana’s history. The seven officers who died last year are pictured on the Cops Cycling for Survivors support truck. The truck also features officers who died 25, 50, 100, 125, 150 and even 200 years ago.

The first known line-of-duty death occurred 200 years ago on Nov. 11, 1824, in Franklin County. Bath Township Constable Robert Murphy attempted to serve a warrant when the suspect stabbed him, organizers said.

Another law enforcement officer memorialized on the truck is Johnson County Reserve Deputy Tracy Miles, who died in the line of duty nearly 25 years ago on May 28, 1999. Miles was killed after being struck by a camper van while talking to a driver on the side of Interstate 65.

Last year’s line of duty deaths seemed almost continuous at one point, as three deaths occurred within the span of a few weeks in the summer — Smith, Glenn and Durm. Cyclists were riding about this time last year when they learned of the death of Glenn, and then a few days later, Durm died. There was an overwhelming sense of grief and emotion, particularly with the timing of Glenn and Durm’s deaths, said Sgt. Kevin Getz, the public information officer for ISP’s Bloomington post and one of the riders.

“It was a very humbling and sobering first couple of days,” he said.

Seven is a big number, but people don’t fully appreciate it until they see the faces of those who died and understand that behind the faces are families and co-workers who will never see them again, Getz said.

Getz started taking part in the ride in 2007, one year after the death of ISP Lt. Gary Dudley and Retired Lake County Police Chief Gary Martin. Dudley and Martin, who were integral to the success of the ride, were both killed during that year’s ride when a large box truck struck the rear of the support truck, pushing the support truck into the cyclists.

Getz was in Dudley’s first ISP recruit class. The ride speaks to Dudley’s legacy and the mission he and Martin had to help survivors, Getz said.

“I realized after both he and Gary were killed that this was something I had to do,” Getz said.

Over the years, Getz has lost friends and co-workers in line of duty deaths. Last year, he lost Bailey, who was a good friend of his. This all motivates Getz to continue to take part in the rides, he said.

“This is my way of making sure that our survivors are never forgotten and that the officers never get forgotten,” Getz said. “Also, the affected agencies; a lot of times the agencies kind of get forgotten as well.”

One of the missions for Cops Cycling for Survivors is to let survivors know that they’re not going to just reach out during the ride, but also at random times or a holiday to see how they are doing and what they need, Getz said. In some way, they all become a large extended family, he said.

For Dick, who became involved with Cops Cycling for Survivors after Dudley came up with the idea of having the ride and asked for his help mapping the route through southern Indiana, one of the fun parts of the ride is meeting people as the group makes stops throughout the state. The public is encouraged to say hello to the riders as they make their way through the state.

“The riders especially love meeting new people and given that encouragement, hop back on that little bike seat and keep pedaling for 13 days straight,” he said.

Those who want to support the ride can do so by making donations at Before the ride had even begun, they had already raised almost $45,500 this year, Reeder said.

Getz asks for community members also to remember the families and the affected agencies.

“It means a lot when a survivor has contact with the public and [the public] says, ‘Thank you for your officers, service to our community and for their sacrifice. We just want to let you know we love you. We’re never going to forget what he or she meant for our community,’” Getz said. “I think that’s really big.”

For Amy Elson, a survivor of the late Trooper Cory Elson, and Amy Gaston-Stehr, a survivor of the late Trooper Richard Gaston, the group’s efforts are appreciated. Trooper Elson was fatally shot during a traffic stop on April 3, 1999, in Adams County and Trooper Gaston was fatally struck by a semi that veered off the roadway on March 4, 1999, in St. Joseph County.

“It’s important for them to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed by us and we are forever grateful that they helped fulfill our promise,” Elson said during the opening ceremony. “So many goals and dreams were not realized for the almost 500 heroes from our state who will be honored in this ride; that they were not afforded enough time to accomplish what they wanted to accomplish.”

“It is comforting to know that their shortened lives and legacies are not forgotten,” Elson added.

To track the group’s progress, stops and activities, they can be found on Facebook by searching Cops Cycling for Survivors or by going to


The 2024 Cops Cycling for Survivors ride will take place from July 8 to July 20, starting and ending in Indianapolis. Johnson County residents can expect to see riders pass through the area on July 20.

The full route is as follows:

  • July 8 – Indianapolis to Richmond
  • July 9 – Richmond to Bluffton
  • July 10 – Bluffton to Angola
  • July 11 – Angola to South Bend
  • July 12 – South Bend to Merrillville
  • July 13 – Merrillville to Kentland
  • July 14 – Kentland to Terre Haute
  • July 15 – Terre Haute to Evansville
  • July 16 – Evansville to Tell City
  • July 17 – Tell City to Jeffersonville
  • July 18 – Jeffersonville to Madison
  • July 19 – Madison to Columbus
  • July 20 – Columbus to Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis