COVINGTON - The Porterdale Police Department is gearing up for its first Porterdale Police Benefit Ride on Saturday.
"Holly Cripps put it together because she recognized the need of small town departments who have budgetary problems," said Porterdale Chief Wayne Digby. "She's starting this with Porterdale and then she's going to do it all over the state. The purpose is raising money for local police departments. There are a number of departments in the state with only four or five persons on staff."
Cripps' husband is a Porterdale officer and the department's canine handler.
"Join us for a breakfast biscuit from Happy J's. Then enjoy the ride led by uniformed police officers from the city of Porterdale and Newton County Sheriff's Office that will take you through the tranquil country back roads of Newton County," Cripps said in a printed press release.
The fee to participate is $20 per rider and $5 for passengers. Registration for the event begins at 8 a.m. beside the Porterdale City Hall. The ride will begin at 10 a.m. and finish around noon, when Digby said riders will be invited to get together at Jimbo's Bar and Grill or Smiley's for lunch.
"So far, we think there are going to be about 200 motorcycles," Digby said. "There's been a real concern to participate in this."
Also, there will be a raffle and door prizes furnished by businesses and churches from throughout the community, as well as T-shirts commemorating the event.
"As a special feature, K-9 Beau will be there to thank you for your participation ... There will be a photographer on hand to take pictures for our Web site," Cripps said.
Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase "equipment we need to do our jobs safely ... those things that are not necessary but are desired," Digby said.
For instance, he said there are several bullet proof vests that need replacing, as well as equipment for drug testing such as scales and microscopes that are needed.
"That kind of stuff is very expensive and (we'd like to have it) instead of having to rely on other departments in the county to do the testing," Digby said.
The event is open to anyone who would care to participate.
"Everybody who's got a motorcycle who wants to ride is more than welcome," he said.
"You don't have to ride a bike to drop by to say hello," Cripps said. "Come see the bikes and meet the Porterdale police officers and K-9 Beau."
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org