History of the Tour
The inaugural 1997 Florida Tour de Force was dedicated to Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Robert Smith who was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver. The Tour was founded by Detective Mike DeMarcus of the North Miami Beach Police Department. Detective DeMarcus coordinated the Tour for 12 years before retiring in 2010, at which time Detective Craig Catlin of the North Miami Beach Police Department was handed the reins. Detective Catlin continued The Tour’s coordination through the end of the 2016 ride when he announced his soon to be retirement from Law Enforcement. Today, 20 years later, the Florida Tour De Force is headed by President Rafael Florencio of the North Miami Beach Police Department with the aid of numerous dedicated members of the Law Enforcement Community. The Tour was established and still is run as a “grass roots” organization which was formed by police officers who wanted to bring awareness and support to the surviving family members of Florida Law Enforcement Officers who have been lost in the line of duty.
The Tour has also conducted rides to benefit organizations such as Concerns of Police Survivors and The Jimmy Ryce Foundation. Each year riders complete a 270 mile, five day ride from North Miami Beach, FL to Daytona Beach Shores, FL. The riders are provided with police escorts by the Florida Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Departments and local Police Departments throughout the state. Riders raise funds through the public sector as well as through the business sector. The Tour annually raises money and distributes the proceeds to the surviving family members of Law Enforcement Officers who die in the line of duty in the state of Florida. All monies raised are distributed to the surviving family members of these Fallen Heroes at the Florida Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Tallahassee, FL each May following the ride.
Citizens, sponsors, media and various law enforcement departments throughout the state have supported the ride since its inception with great enthusiasm. The Tour de Force is open to both law enforcement members and civilians. The success of the Tour de Force relies on our partnerships with corporate businesses as well as individuals. Please support the families of Florida Law Enforcement Officers who made the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect the citizens of Florida.