Several local law enforcement officers have formed the latest chapter of a nationwide law enforcement motorcycle club.

The latest chapter of a nationwide motorcycle club for law enforcement officers has formed in Pratt.

During ceremonies Saturday morning at the First Southern Baptist Church, the High Plains Chapter of the Defenders Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club became the thirty-third chapter of the organization.

The charter members and Chapter nicknames are Pratt Police Assistant Chief Captain Gary “Pappy” Myers who is also the president of the chapter. Chapter officers and members are Vice President James “Bug” Sheldon, Chapter Major Jerry “Bodean” Mart, Commander Jim “Joker” Ferbert, Secretary Joe “Ghost” Sallee, Treasurer Mike “Bulldog” Payton, Lieutenant at Arms Adam “Big A” Piland and civilian Chaplin David “Preacher” Broaddus. Also joining as associate members are wives Joyce Broaddus and Monica Mart.

During the ceremony each new member received a leather vest that featured the members, name, nickname, chapter rank on the front with the Defenders logo and chapter logo on the back.

Following the ceremony the entire group took an inaugural 75-mile ride to honor the new chapter.

The Defenders is a non-profit organization that raises money for charity organizations. They were founded in 2004. Its members are law enforcement, military, emergency services and public safety professionals. The Defenders promote high moral and ethical values, uncompromised integrity and the preservation of truth, justice and the American way.

“We are very excited to be part of this organization,” Myers said.

Several local officers expressed interest in forming a motorcycle club. A search started in April for an organization and after some research the Defenders was the organization that fit what they wanted, Myers said.

Work then began to create interest to meet the minimum of seven members to form a chapter.

Chapters have to maintain 80 percent membership of law enforcement, military, emergency services and public safety professionals.

After filling out the application forms, the national chapter does a background check to verify chapter application information. Eight members, seven from law enforcement and on non-law enforcement representing Pratt County Sheriff Department, Pratt Police Department, one international officer and one state correctional officer plus two associate members make up the High Plains Chapter.

A big part of the Defenders code is that no misconduct is allowed and good behavior is demanded, Myers said.

“When we wear our colors we represent the Defenders across the nation,” Myers said.

Because the Defenders colors are similar to some motorcycle gangs, Defenders works very hard to let the public know who they are and what the stand for, said Defenders National Chapter Vice President Patrick “Chubbs” Lawson.

The similarity in colors is a challenge and the organization has to prove they are who they say they are.”Trust me, we are being tested,” said National Chapter Treasurer Roy “Cat Daddy” Brown.

The Defenders is a brotherhood and a family that puts family first above Defenders. Members are expected to attend family functions in favor of attending Defenders activities that happen at the same time, Lawson said.

“Nothing this club does is more important than family,” Lawson said. “We never do anything that excludes any family member.”

Present at the ceremony from Naples, Fla. were Lawson, National Treasurer Roy Brown, National Quartermaster and Vice president of the Kansas OZ Chapter David “Taz” Adams plus members of the Oz Chapter from Olathe, First Missouri Chapter and future members from the soon to be formed Rocky Mountain Chapter in Denver that will become official on Nov. 6.