What is the Law Enforcement Torch Run?
The Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics it is the largest grassroots fundraising and public awareness vehicle for the movement across the globe! Annually, more than 85,000 dedicated, compassionate and volunteer law enforcement officers participate in the torch run throughout 35 nations, 12 Canadian provinces and 50 US states, carrying the “Flame of Hope”, raising more than $50 Million USD for local Special Olympics programs in 2013 and over $500 Million since its inception in 1981.
The man behind the first Torch Run in 1981 was Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon. He conceived the Torch Run as a way to involve local law enforcement personnel in the community and to support Special Olympics. The Torch Run was quickly adapted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), now recognized as the founding law enforcement organization for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
Today, the Torch Run is more than just a run and encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles such as T-shirt and merchandise sales, special events to include polar plunges, tip-a-cop and building sits and a host of other events that have local, state and national appeal. The Law Enforcement Torch Run transforms communities by inspiring people to open their minds, to accept an include people with intellectual disabilities, celebrating differences among all people… recognizing and respecting the similarities we all share. For athletes and officers alike, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is a story of success, love, respect and commitment between law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes.
New York Torch Run
For over 25 years, thousands of law enforcement officers have carried the Flame of Hope through their towns, villages, and cities signifying the unique relationship between the athletes of Special Olympics NY and the Law Enforcement community.
Nearly 2,000 officers representing more than 200 agencies across the state participated in just torch run alone… that’s not counting the thousands more that take part in the other signature Law Enforcement fundraisers across the state.
Since its inception, more than $8.1 million has been raised through LETR fundraisers in New York providing training, venues, equipment, uniforms and transportation for hundreds of thousands of Special Olympic New York Athletes!
How it Works
Officers carry the torch across the state, from Long Island to Buffalo, Plattsburgh to Binghamton, to bring the Torch into Opening Ceremonies of our State Summer Games each year, stopping at Regional competitions all along the way. Officers also hand out awards to our athletes at these State Games as well as at Regional and local competitions.
In addition to the Torch Runs, there are many special events that take place throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics New York. These events involve literally thousands of law enforcement officers who volunteer their time to plan and organize the Polar Plunge Series, Applebee’s Law & Orders, Cops on Top, Over the Edge, Fire Truck Pulls, Golf Outings and a variety of other adventures throughout New York State.