The real heroes of Special Olympics

Special Olympics athletes look at law enforcement as heroes, but what the athletes don't realize is the officers find the athletes to be the true heroes. Through the Law Enforcement Torch Run, police officers have become the largest grassroots fundraisers for Special Olympics.

About the Torch Run®

In 1981, Chief Richard LaMunyon of the Wichita, Kansas Police Department created the Law Enforcement Torch Run® as a way to involve his officers in the community by running a torch relay for their local Special Olympics. The first Torch Run involved six officers and they raised no money.

The Torch Run has grown to include more than 125 runs in 48 nations. Since its inception 33 years ago, more than 100,000 law enforcement officers have raised $500 million for the Special Olympics movement worldwide. The Torch Run has become the largest grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympics.

The 2013 Southern California Law Enforcement Torch Run involved more than 450 officers who proudly carried the Special Olympics Torch more than 1,500 miles and through more than 175 communities. The officers, representing law enforcement agencies throughout the state, collected donations for their participation and are sponsored by civic groups, local businesses and generous friends.

More than 3,000 officers also raised more than $1.4 million in 2014 through Tip-A-Cop® dinners, Plane/Fire Truck Pulls, 5K/10K runs, Raffles, Car Shows, Bike Rides, Polar Plunges®, Adopt-a-Cop programs, golf tournaments and other special events. Officers volunteer their time to support their local athletes. Because of our volunteer base, all funds raised by law enforcement personnel go to Special Olympics. The donations are directed into program support and development, expenses for athlete participation in local, regional, state and international competitions as well as training workshops and conferences.

Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. Authorized and Accredited by
Special Olympics, Inc. for the Benefit of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

© 2008 - 2010 Special Olympics Southern California