On Saturday, May 20, about 24 riders from the Westminster Police Department began their caravan north for the 11th annual Code 3 Cycling for A Cause memorial bike ride, to raise awareness and funds for officers who have died in the line of service.
Each year the group, along with riders from local agencies, as well as volunteers and support crew, hit the pavement for a roughly 600-mile ride from the Fallen Peace Officers Memorial in Sacramento to the Westminster Police Officers Memorial at the Civic Center commons.
This year’s ride departs from Sacramento on Sunday, May 21, and is scheduled to arrive in Westminster between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 24. The riders, families and supporters will gather briefly at the memorial for a moment of silence.
Unlike last year, when the department celebrated the 10th annual ride with added fanfare, including food and vendors, Commander Kevin MacCormick said this year will be more subdued.
Before arriving in Westminster, riders will stop at Garden Grove’s Call to Duty Memorial, where they will also observe a moment of silence.
“Our main goal is that no one ever forgets those who gave their lives in the line of service,” MacCormick said.
The event grew out of the Project 999 cycling ride formerly put on by the Orange County Sheriff. In 2012, MacCormick and Sgt. Bill Drinnin took over the race. Both had been riding in the event since the early 2000s.
The annual Code 3 ride carries participants across the San Joaquin Valley, over the Santa Cruz mountains to Watsonville, south along Route 1 through Big Sur and on to Orange County.
The riders and volunteers wear t-shirts and hoodies bearing the names of three people, who symbolize the ride.
Lt. Ron Weber, Sgt. Marcus Frank, Ofc. Steve Phillips are the three Westminster police officers who died while on the job.
During the ride, three groups of cyclists hit the streets each day and cover different routes and distances before reconvening each evening.
First and foremost, the ride is about remembrance and reflection.
“We’re riding our bikes for the people who can’t anymore,” Orange County Sheriff Deputy Melanie Rea told Behind the Badge in 2022. “That keeps our minds in check.”
“It’s really in honor of the everyday men and women suiting up and never knowing if that will be the day they pay the ultimate sacrifice,” MacCormick said. “They do it because it’s a calling.”