Veteran traveling the country to personally thank police officers in dozens of cities

Billy Richards hands a DPD officer a thank you card during his stop in Dallas, Texas (left). Richards hands a police officer a thank you card in Miami, Florida - his 18th stop on his "thank the police tour." (Billy Richards/Facebook)

Billy Richards, who spent four years in the Marine Corps and three in the U.S. Army, has been on a new mission since leaving the military, the “Thank the Police Tour,” to thank what he calls his “brothers”.

“As far as I’m concerned, law enforcement [officers are] kind of like brothers,” Richards told WFAA. “We [in the military] defend the country overseas, and they defend the country on the homefront.”

Richards, who is lives in New York, has traveled to 27 cities across the U.S. to thank police officers, in hopes of boosting morale at each department.

He began his tour by stopping at each precinct in his homeotwn of Long Island. Then he visited police departments in Philadelphia and Baltimore before traveling down the east coast.

Before embarking on his journey he purchased thirty American flags and “thank you” cards to bring to the departments of the cities on his tour.  At each police station he runs three to five miles with the flag and many times with officers from the department.

During Richards "Thank the Police Tour" stop in Las Vegas, NV, he ran from the welcome sign to the strip with three SWAT officers. (Billy Richards/Facebook)
During Richards’ “Thank the Police Tour” stop in Las Vegas, NV, he ran from the welcome sign to the Las Vegas strip with three SWAT officers. (Billy Richards/Facebook)

On Thursday, his run took him to the site where five officers were killed on July 7 while he was visiting the Dallas Police Department -the 22nd city on his tour.

“It’s always kind of mind-blowing to be at the site where things have actually happened,” he told News 8. “It’s kind of like a dark cloud effect that comes over you and it really hits home.

After stopping to honor the victims with a moment of silence, Richards returned to the police department to present an American flag with a handwritten “thank you” note -as he does at every department.

Richards most recent stop occurred on Sunday in Las Vegas, the 27th city on his tour.  Richards told KTNV he plans on stopping by at least four more major cities on his way back to New York.

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