Each year more than 100 law enforcement officers in the US are killed in the line of duty. To raise public awareness of fallen officers and to honor their sacrifices, the Police Unity Tour was organized in 1997.

What began with 18 riders on a four-day fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington has grown into nearly 2,500 volunteer members nationwide who make the trip each year. The tour raised $2.6 million in 2017 alone. Most of the volunteer riders and support people are law enforcement officers and their families.

Time for an upgrade

By early 2017, the Oregon team attached to the Southern California Chapter of the Police Unity Tour had grown and required new digital radios. The team sought radios that would provide the range, ruggedness and reliability to go the distance. They turned to Silke Communications, a leading wireless communications dealer. Silke has been serving the West from Oregon for 50 years, and has locations and/or networks in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada.

The Silke team recommended the Hytera PD6 series digital portable radios. Boasting analog and digital operation, compliance with MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G standards (for exposure to high and low temperatures, rain, humidity, salt fog, sand and dust exposure), digital encryption, and weighing only 10 ounces, the PD6 series radios were right for the task. Upon receipt of the PD6 radios, the team transitioned the older radios to an isolated use as a backup for support personnel.

The use of the Hytera radios was crucial to a successful and safe event.

The Event

The tour launched on May 9. Radios were issued to the Event Leader, ride Marshalls, motorcycle operators, medics, mechanics, support personnel, and more. Nate Pieske, captain of the Oregon team, said, “Every user of the radios was affiliated with law enforcement, in fact the majority of users were active law enforcement. Communication among these users is a vital component to success of the tour and safety of all involved.”

If every rider were touching tip to tail with one another on their bicycles, the entire group would stretch out for approximately one mile. Add in a safety buffer, hills, vehicles, etc., at times the group was 3 to 4 miles apart. That’s a lot of ground to cover.


The team had a very positive experience with the Hytera radios. Added Captain Pieske, “Their inherent ruggedness and reliability were apparent. We were riding in a downpour of Maryland rain at times. The radios performed well without any cause for concern.”

The technology and ability of these Hytera radios far surpasses that of their counterparts. Add in the support we got from Silke Communications, and we had a force multiplier when it came to likelihood of a successful event and overall mission.

Nate Pieske, Captain, Oregon Team
Police Unity Tour
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8 November 2017