By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
He was supposed to be bicycling 303 miles from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, D.C. for National Police Week.
Oxford Police reserve officer Keith Redlin rode those same miles (across four states) last year for the Police Unity Tour, when thousands of officers from around the country “ride for those who died” on the line of duty the previous year.
“It’s not a race, it’s just a tour,” Redlin explained when first interviewed back in February. “We average 80 to 100 miles a day. And, we are escorted by state police to stop at memorials along the route.”
Despite the ride being cancelled due to the coronavirus, Redlin committed himself to logging those miles virtually – on his Peloton spin bike from home.
This year, he was planning to ride for nightwatch Jay Gould, the only Oxford officer to be killed on the line of duty.
Gould was shot at 3 a.m. in front of the Oxford Savings Bank (now the North Oakland Historical Museum) on Feb. 13, 1925. The circumstances of his death remain a mystery. He may have prevented “a contemplated robbery or surprised a gang of boot-leggers who drove into the village in a large touring car,” the Leader reported at the time. His killers were never identified or brought to justice.
Gould’s grave in the Oxford Township cemetery had been unmarked until just five years ago when current and former Oxford Police officers and community donors put together funds for a headstone.
Redlin wants to continue that effort to memorialize him. “That’s what it’s really about. It’s not about me crossing the finish line, it’s about riding for someone who will be on my mind the whole time. What did he go through that last night? What did the village sacrifice because of what he did that night?”
Redlin still managed to raise $6,000 for the Police Unity Tour, which helps pay for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial inscribes the names of 21,910 law enforcement officers who have died on the line of duty throughout American history. Jay Gould’s name is included on the wall.