Motors revved to honor fallen officer

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Whether it was on a Honda, a Harley, a Suzuki or any other brand of motorcycle, riding enthusiasts honored a fallen officer starting at 11 a.m. Saturday by raising money for his family.

More than 1,000 strong, the riders from across Southwest Georgia turned out for the first Cliff Rouse Memorial Ride. Dougherty County Police Lt. Rouse was killed in the line of duty in December.

The combination Poker Run/Dice Roll motorcycle ride drew officers from every imaginable law enforcement organization, government employees and residents grateful for those who serve and protect.

"Cliff used to be the lead car in the escort for the other runs we have," said Wes Shubert, one of the event's organizers. "This is our way to escort for him and raise money for his family. We plan on doing this every year for whoever might need it."

County police Cpl. Nicki Privette felt good about all the people that showed up to honor Rouse.

"Cliff would have been the lead car. He loved to escort the motorcycles," Privette said. "I'm glad so many of us in law enforcement came out in support of the family. And there are the people not in law enforcement here to help."

Jeff Kendrick was readying his Gold Wing 1500 cc touring bike to take part in the run from Front Street at the Veterans Park Amphitheater. He isn't in law enforcement or a government employee.

"I love to ride and doing it for a good cause just makes it better," Kendrick said. "Supporting an officer who gave his life is definitely a good cause."

Members of Rouse's family, father Tom, mother Jackie, wife Christine and his son Braxton attended and were carried in a white Hummer stretch limousine at the head of the parade to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge on Dunbar Lane.

Food, drinks, door prizes, raffles and the always popular Bo Henry Band rounded out the day.

"It really makes me feel good to know how much people respected and liked my son," Jackie Rouse said. "It can't take away the pain a mother feels but it does feel good."