The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics began in 1981 in Kansas where Wichita Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds and increase awareness for Special Olympics.
The idea behind the Torch Run was to provide law enforcement officers with an opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics in the communities where the officers lived and worked. After three years of successful runs in Kansas, Chief LaMunyon presented his idea to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which endorsed Special Olympics International as its official charity through the Torch Run.
In North Carolina, the first Torch Run was organized in 1987 when relays were run from Raleigh and Charlotte to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Fetzer Field, site of the 1987 SONC Summer Games. The NC Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised $31,143,268.82 since 1987!
Special Olympics North Carolina is the official charity of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police. All law enforcement officers participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics are volunteers.
The North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics unites officers from law enforcement agencies and corrections departments across the state in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics North Carolina. The Torch Run efforts to raise funds include: collecting corporate sponsorships, T-shirt and hat donations and hosting unique fundraising events such as building sits, polar plunges and glow runs.
Each summer, law enforcement officials carry the Flame of Hope across the state in the Torch Run Final Leg, culminating in the lighting of the cauldron to officially open the Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games in Raleigh. The 2,000-mile, month-long Torch Run Relay involves more than 2,500 law enforcement officers and personnel representing more than 200 law enforcement agencies across North Carolina.