Whenever possible, David Summers attends motorcycle rallies to support police officers in his brother’s honor.
His brother, Lodi police Capt. Carl Summers, died in 1977 at the age of 30 when a driver of a stolen truck ran him over during an attempted apprehension.
His brother’s likeness in a police uniform is tattooed on his upper arm as a constant reminder of the loss.
Summers was among about 400 riders from throughout Northeast Ohio who participated in Sunday’s 15th annual Police Memorial Motorcycle Rally to raise money for the Greater Cleveland Police Scholarship Fund.
“I think everybody should respect an officer,” he said. “By doing this, you show respect for them.”
The fund awards a $5,000 college scholarship annually to a child of a Northeast Ohio police officer. This year’s scholarship was given to Emily Tolley, 18, of Cleveland, the daughter of a Cleveland police officer.
Proceeds from the annual rally also are used to provide $2,500 each year to support the eternal flame at the Fraternal Order of Police Memorial in downtown Akron.
“We’re here to remember,” said Andy Ezzo, a sergeant in the Cleveland Police Department and president of the Greater Cleveland Police Scholarship Fund.
The 50-mile ride started at Century Harley-Davidson in Medina Township before stopping in front of the Akron Police Department on South High Street for a memorial ceremony.
The riders then continued to Parma for a bagged lunch and ended at South East Harley-Davidson in Bedford Heights for a concert and celebration.
During the event in downtown Akron, Patty Miktarian Spencer of Tallmadge talked about the importance of honoring all officers, especially those who have given their lives in the line of duty.
Her cousin, Twinsburg police officer Joshua T. Miktarian, was killed July 13, 2008, when he was fatally shot during a traffic stop.
“I think the community awareness and community support is needed for all of our law enforcement,” she said.
Akron Police Chief James Nice, who participated in the ride, urged those in attendance at the ceremony to do what they can to prevent more officers and citizens from dying from gun violence by pushing harsher penalties for gun violations.
He estimated more than two-thirds of killings are attributed to gunfire and nearly half of all officers killed in the line of duty die from gun violence.
“Ohio is extremely weak on legislation targeting criminals arrested with gun crimes,” he said.
Although judges can sentence criminals to prison time for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or other violations, few do, Nice said.
“It’s up to all of us to stop these senseless kills of police officers and others,” he said.
By Cheryl Powell - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services