A small caravan of motorcyclists and trucks stopped in Tuscaloosa Monday morning on Day 28 of their 68-day journey across America to pay tribute to the 146 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2019.

The First Annual End of Watch Ride to Remember rolled into Bower's Park to honor Investigator Dornell Cousette, the Tuscaloosa Police Officer who was shot and killed while serving a warrant last September.

The Ride is organized by a non-profit called Beyond the Call of Duty, who arrived in the Druid City hauling a trailer featuring the names, faces and end-of-watch days of each police officer killed last year.

The procession was met by Cousette's family, dozens of police officers, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and more.

(Stephen Dethrage)
(Stephen Dethrage)

"These were 146 officers that were full of love, respect and honor and they represented their communities to the best of their abilities, and they paid the ultimate sacrifice," End of Watch Ride to Remember Chairman Jagrut Shah said.

Mayor Maddox and TPD Chief Brent Blankley also spoke at the memorial event to honor Cousette's memory and to voice their appreciation of the men and women of law enforcement.

"The remembrance of Officer Cousette reminds us all that you are heroes," Maddox said. "I know right now you're hearing a lot of voices and many of those voices do not understand or appreciate what you do every single day. I ask you to remember that those voices don't necessarily represent the vast majority of people."

Blankley and Shah echoed those sentiments, saying it shouldn't take the death of an officer for a community to empathize with and appreciate their police officers. Shah also said that even in a tumultuous time for law enforcement officers in the country, there is widespread support for police in this country.

"I really want to tell the men and women in blue that you are loved, don't forget that. We get stopped at gas stations on the road and people are asking us every day to remind the law enforcement community that there is love," Shah said. "Don't be swayed by what you hear or see -- people really appreciate what you're doing."

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