It was the only time Debbie Jacobs felt uneasy when her dad left for work. The year was 1983, Jacobs was 18 and her dad, Spokane police Officer Brian Orchard, got called in on his day off.
“I had a bad feeling about it. Something wasn’t right,” Jacobs said.
During his shift, Orchard was shot and killed in the line of duty and never got to have lunch with Jacobs the next day as they’d planned.
“It was really terrible,” she said.
Now Jacobs is trying to raise $3,000 so she will be able to participate in the Police Unity Tour bike ride, which begins May 9 in Philadelphia and ends May 12 in Washington, D.C., at the National Police Memorial Wall where Orchard’s name is engraved.
“I’ve wanted to go for a long time, but this is the first time it’s worked out,” Jacobs said.
She now lives in Moscow, Idaho, and is also dedicating her bike ride to Moscow police officer Lee Newbill, who was killed in the line of duty in 2007.
She’s having a bunco fundraiser in Spokane on Saturday.
“I’m doing that in Spokane because that’s where people know my dad,” Jacobs said. Her husband, Joe Jacobs, will travel with her to Philadelphia and serve as her support crew during the ride.
“We stop and take breaks every 25 miles or so,” Jacobs said. “It’s not like the Tour de France.”
She added she’s not certain Joe Jacobs could fix her bike if something went wrong with it.
“I just sweet-talked him into joining me,” Jacobs said. “He never got to meet my dad.”
Jacobs said she’s the only rider from the Pacific Northwest that she knows of.
The Police Unity Tour is only open to current law enforcement employees, retirees or immediate survivors of someone killed in the line of duty.
According to its website, www.policeunitytour.com, nearly 1,700 rode in the 2013 Unity Tour which raised $1.72 million toward the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Since the tour began in 1997 it has raised nearly $14 million for the fund, $5 million of which was donated toward the creation of the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C.
Jacobs said the four-day bike ride covers almost 300 miles.
Last year, she did the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic – riding about 200 miles in one day.
“It was the day after that ride that I decided I was going to do the Police Unity Tour,” Jacobs said. “I was sore. But I knew I could do it.”