Fallen Berkeley police officer among those honored by Police Unity Tour

BERKELEY (KTVU) -- Sometimes there are journeys, where the miles take on special meaning, and a Berkeley police officer on Saturday morning will embark on one of those journeys with 1,800 law enforcement officers from across the country for the annual Police Unity Tour.

It's a bicycle tour that will stretch 300 miles from New Jersey to Washington D.C., ending at the national police officers memorial honoring police officers who have lost their lives.

Berkeley police officer Jitendra Singh is one of some 125 Northern California police officers who will participate.

"It's very emotional in a lot of different ways. For me, it's giving as well. And making sure the families do know that we care for those who passed away," Singh said.

His first tour was in 2013, when he pedaled those 300 miles in memory of another man who'd worn the Berkeley police uniform.

"Ron T. Tsukamoto," Singh said. "His end of watch was in 1970." 

Singh says Officer Ronald Tsukamoto's photo and badge hang on a memorial wall within Berkeley's police department next to a photo of the only other fallen Berkeley officer Sergeant Jimmie Rutledge, who as killed in 1973.

Tsukamoto was 28 years old at the end of his watch, the first Japanese-American on the Berkeley police force and the first Berkeley officer to lose his life in the line of duty.

"Ron Tsukamoto died in August, 1970 on a car stop on University Avenue where he was shot and killed," said Lt. Joe Okies of the Berkeley Police Department.

More than 40 years later, the case still has not been solved, said Lt. Okies.

For Singh and other police officers who will once again repeat their journey to the national police officers memorial in D.C., it is a pilgrimage to remember those who've fallen, and perhaps a way to keep a light on Ronald Tsukamoto's memory, with the hope someday there might be justice for his family.

"Because there is somebody who did it. There has to be someone who knows something...even after all these years," Singh said.

>>>>>For information on Officer Ronald Tsukamoto's life and end of watch: Click here.

By KTVU reporter Jana Katsuyama.