Law Enforcement Torch Run began in Wichita, Kansas, in 1981 when Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw a need to raise awareness of and funds for Special Olympics. He conceived the idea of the Torch Run as a way to involve local law enforcement with Special Olympics and local communities by running the torch in intra-state relays that converge at Summer Games.
Now a global event, all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries participate in Law Enforcement Torch Run. In Oregon, more than 1,500 law enforcement personnel from federal, military, state, county, and local agencies participate in the year-round Torch Run campaign.
Law Enforcement Torch Run is a three-pronged year-round program:
Adding much to the joy of Special Olympics Oregon athletes, Torch Run volunteers participate in Awards and Games Ceremonies throughout the year at all Regional and State Competitions.
In the Summer, Torch Run volunteers and Special Olympics Oregon athletes carry the Flame of Hope through more than 30 counties statewide. A Relay Celebration is held in the city hosting Summer State Games to cheer on the runners.
Fundraising is done throughout the year to ensure Special Olympics Oregon athletes can participate free of charge. Funds are raised in many different ways, including: Polar Plunges, recruiting sponsors, t-shirt sales, relay pledges, Tip-a-Cops, Seahawks Raffle, and many other events. Funds raised by Torch Run support Local Programs and Regional & State Competitions so athletes can compete in the sports they love.