'Hard to be there:' Officers prepare for 'Unity Tour,' honoring fallen Officers Irvine, Michalski

Lieutenant Elizabeth Ibarra

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Police Department lost three officers, killed in the line of duty, in eight months' time. Officer Charles Irvine Jr. and Officer Michael Michalski, who lost their lives in June and July 2018, will be honored in Washington, D.C. during National Police Week (May 12-18).

FOX6 News on Monday, May 6 caught up with Milwaukee police officers preparing for a 300-mile bike ride to Washington D.C. Nearly 54 of those bikes from several law enforcement agencies were loaded into the trailer at the Milwaukee Police Academy. Nearly 18 agencies from across the state of Wisconsin will take part, riding in honor of Officers Michalski and Irvine.

Lieutenant David Feldmeier

"We had our own tragedy strike not once, but twice, and six months after that, again, a third time," said Lieutenant David Feldmeier.

Lt. Ibarra and Lt. Feldmeier are two of the Milwaukee police officers who will be welcomed in D.C. by an estimated 155 Milwaukee police officers and their families. They've both ridden before but this year is expected to be different.

"We can't focus on who's going. We got to remember why we're going," said Officer Michael Bachmann, whose cousin is Charles Irvine Jr. "This could be the final closure."

Milwaukee Police Officer Charles Irvine Jr., Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski

The bikes will be driven to Philly Monday May 6th, while officers will fly out on Tuesday.

They will begin their 300-mile trek through several cities, eventually ending on Sunday in Washington D.C. at the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial.

Officer Michael Bachmann

"It's hard to be there for their families, maybe, in the way the families need us to be, and so this is one way I believe I can do that for them," said Feldmeier.

While two wheels will take Ibarra there, so too will the memory of her fallen colleague, Officer Michalski.

"My training rides that led up to this, I talk to him through it -- to get me through some of the bigger hills in trailing. It means a lot to do this in his memory," said Ibarra.

Bachmann, on his MPD motorcycle, led the trailer packed full of bikes to the freeway, before heading out to DC later this week.

"I think a lot of people have moved on in their own way, but this is the crème de la crème  as far as giving your life in the line of service on this job," said Bachmann.

Milwaukee police officers will join several other agencies riding to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on Sunday afternoon, May 12. There, they will be welcomed by other Milwaukee police officers and their families.