The primary purpose of the Police Unity Tour is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. The secondary purpose is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum.
The previous years I have participated I rode for an officer that was killed the previous year. This year however I wanted to honor Deputy T.A. Burnham. He was killed on January 9, 1981, When I was a still in high school. Deputy Burnham responded to an area off Dranefield Road, in the vicinity of Lakeland Regional Airport. Deputy Burnham was attempting to locate a suspect involved in a reported abduction. Unknown to T.A. at the time, the suspect had shot and killed two individuals earlier that evening. At approximately 4:20 PM, Deputy Burnham encountered the suspect walking on Dranefield Road, west of Airport Road, in Lakeland.
Subsequently, a struggle ensued between Deputy Burnham and the suspect. Deputy Burnham was shot and killed with his service revolver by the suspect. The suspect was later caught and sentanced to the death penalty. The suspect still sits on death row......30 years after the crime.
Deputy Burnham was 27 years old at the time of his death.
I am proud to be part of the Police Unity Tour® and humbled by the opportunity to "Ride for Those Who Died!"