Granddaughter of Fallen AZDPS Officer Completes 320-Mile "Police Unity Tour" Bike Ride
Andrea Rebel completed the journey from northern New Jersey to Washington, D.C. in honor of fallen AZDPS officers and troopers, including her grandfather, Officer Edward Rebel.
On Sunday, May 7, 2023, AZDPS motor troopers proudly escorted Andrea Rebel to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport as she departed for the East Coast to participate in the 2023 Police Unity Tour (Chapter 1 – Northern NJ). This annual tour aims to bring public awareness to peace officers who have died in the line of duty and honor their sacrifice.
On May 9th, Andrea began the 320-mile bike ride from northern New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. She rode in honor of all our fallen AZDPS heroes, but especially for her grandfather, fallen AZDPS Officer Edward Rebel, #233. Officer Rebel was shot while attempting to arrest a suspect driving a stolen vehicle on June 28, 1988. Despite sustaining a gunshot wound, Officer Rebel returned fire and killed his assailant before succumbing to his own injuries.
“My grandfather - he was my everything,” Andrea said. “To some he was the annoying cop who gave them a ticket or took them to jail, but to me he was my everything. The man I looked up to as a father figure. The man who made me an airplane as he took me to bed. The man who would sneak me to get a donut,” she said. “We all miss him terribly.”
Despite being an Ironman competitor and completing months of training, Andrea said the Police Unity Tour ride was challenging both physically and emotionally.
“The hills on this ride have been very humbling to me as an athlete,” Andrea said. “Also, nothing could have trained me for how emotional this would actually be… officers from local agencies standing at attention, saluting while bagpipes or Taps via bugle plays,” she said, describing the many displays of support and tributes to fallen officers the riders see from local agencies and residents along their route. “It’s gut wrenching and so amazing to see,” she said.
After four days of riding, the Police Unity Tour concluded at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. on Friday, May 12th. The cyclists were greeted by friends, family, and survivors, and Andrea was escorted into the memorial by fellow cyclist and North Las Vegas Police Department Officer Luke Nelson. Once at the memorial, she stopped to spend a moment at the spot where her grandfather’s name is engraved on the Memorial Wall.
“The support for law enforcement is seen throughout this whole ride,” Andrea said. “It’s phenomenal.”
To learn more about the Police Unity Tour and National Police Week, please visit policeunitytour.com and nleomf.org.