Somerset County Sheriff To Ride Police Unity Tour In Honor Of Fallen Detective

NJ State PBA President Patrick Colligan, Retired Fanwood Police Sergeant Russ Yeager (holding a picture of his father Sheriff’s Detective Ronald Yeager) and Somerset County Sheriff Darrin J. Russo (left to right) stand in front of the Somerset County Law Enforcement Memorial in Somerville. (Photo: Cosmo Tomaro, Sheriff’s Office BCI Unit.)  

Somerset County Sheriff and township resident Darren Russo will honor a fallen Somerset County Sheriff’s Detective during the annual Police Unity Tour the week of May 10.

Russo will honor James Yeager, who was killed early in the morning of July 10, 2000 when his car was struck by another auto while he was on his way to work.

“My father always answered the call,” Yeager’s son, retired Fanwood Police Sgt. Russ Yeager, said in a press release.

“He knew his duty and professional responsibility,” Yeager said in the release. “He was loyal, benevolent, cared for his partners and a dedicated police officer to residents everywhere. He spent close to 40 years in uniform between law enforcement and military positions. Most importantly he was a great family man and loved unconditionally.”

“As a second-generation cop, I responded that day from my department and he fought to the end,” Yeager said in the release. “He was my role model and mentor after I started on the job.  He is missed everyday by those he left behind.“

More than 2,000 law enforcement officers from around the country will bicycle more than 240 miles to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. from May 10 through May 19. Yeager’s name will be engraved on the memorial wall in a special observance on May 19.

“This will be my 10th year riding in the Policy Unity Tour,” Russo said in the release. “While it saddens me to see so many names every year being added to the wall, it gives me great sense of pride to be part of an amazing group of people.”

“The police and those that support the Police Unity Tour not just honor the motto ‘We ride for those who died,’ but their efforts give the families and friends of our fallen officers hope, and the tour provides a place that their loved ones can go to always be remembered,” Russo said in the release.

Somerset County Undersheriff Tim Pino was Yeager’s partner when he died.

Since Yeager died, Pino said in the release, “the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office never stopped our efforts to provide the Yeager family to the proper closure they deserved by having Detective Yeager’s death classified as an In The Line Of Duty Death. Now 22 years later that honor has come to fruition, and we would never have gotten to this point without the resilient efforts of N.J. State PBA President Patrick Colligan, Ron’s son Sergeant Russ Yeager, Retired Summit Police Department Chief Andrew Bartolotti and Somerset County Sheriff Darrin Russo.”

“I look forward to standing alongside of them all when Detective Ron Yeager’s name is finally placed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. on May 19th,” Pino said in the release.

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