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Hundreds ride in honor of SWAT officer

February 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A law enforcement bicycle team took to the streets Saturday to remember Officer Randal Simmons, the first LAPD SWAT officer to be killed in the line of duty.Simmons was laid to rest on Friday, and a memorial bike ride was held in his honor Saturday.

More than 200 cyclists rode in honor of slain LAPD Officer Randy Simmons.

"Ninety percent of these people have no idea who Randy was except for what they've seen on TV, and have come to love him as we have," said Craig White, the ride's organizer.

The memorial was sponsored by the Southern California Police Unity Tour cycling team, which is made up of law enforcement from all across Los Angeles.

Originally scheduled as a training session, the ride quickly grew into a two-wheel tribute. Cyclists of all levels joined forces to honor a fallen hero.

"Everybody is a community -- we're all a community here. It's always great to honor somebody, like Randy," rider Randy Cruz said.

The ride began at the LAPD's academy and wound its way through the city to the West Valley Police Station in Reseda, where fellow officers laid a wreath in Simmons's honor.

Known as "The Rock," friends say the fit, veteran officer would have appreciated the 54-mile ride.

"He stressed athletics, especially with kids, and to have the community come out in an athletic function, I think he's smiling today," LAPD Sgt. Brian Morrison said.

Friends say this ride is the perfect tribute to Simmons. A way to bring the police and the community together: exactly what Simmons strived to do.