Law Enforcement Torch Run and Relay for the Special Olympics

On June 4, 2010, a send off ceremony in front of the Lethbridge Courthouse kicked off the cycling relay leg of this year's Law Enforcement Torch Run and Relay in support of the Special Olympics. Fifteen Alberta Sheriffs, RCMP officers and police from Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, and the Blood Tribe cycled for over 19 hours from Lethbridge to Edmonton.

Special Olympic hopefuls accompanied
by Alberta law enforcement personnel

When they arrived in Edmonton, the cyclists were met at Foote Field by athletes training to be Special Olympians. Additional law enforcement and other support personnel were also there participating in local fundraising events, including a torch run with the athletes. This year's relay and torch run raised over $20,000, with Alberta Sheriffs contributing over $7000.

Each year police officers, sheriffs, RCMP, support staff and police volunteers from around the world participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. It is the largest grassroots fund raiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world. Their mission is to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics movement worldwide. Law enforcement officers from the 50 United States, 10 Canadian provinces and two territories, and 32 countries carry the Flame of Hope in honour of the Special Olympics athletes in their area and around the world.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas (USA), Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. The Torch Run was quickly adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, now recognized as the founding law enforcement organization of the event.

The start of the torch run at
Foote Field in Edmonton, Alberta

The run has evolved into an international movement that raises over $30 US million each year for Special Olympics in countries around the world. As well as the run, law enforcement personnel raise funds by participating in numerous other community fundraising events.

Law Enforcement Torch Relay interesting facts:

    • Every two years, law enforcement officers from around the world gather to carry the Flame of Hope in a Law Enforcement Torch Run 'Final Leg' in honour of the Special Olympics World Summer or World Winter Games.
    • Last year more than 85,000 law enforcement officers carried the Flame of Hope.
    • More than 400,000 "Torch Run" t-shirts were sold last year with all the proceeds going to the Special Olympics.

Torch runners leave Foote Field, accompanied
by cyclists taking part in the Edmonton area relay.

Relay cyclists arriving in Edmonton to join up with the torch run event.

The four Alberta sheriffs who cycled from Lethbridge to Edmonton as part of the
relay event: (left to right) Gord Ryall, Andrew Decoteau, Lou Donato and Bill Paisley.

Sheriffs Troy MacKay (left) and Ben Arakaki provided support and escorted the cyclists.

 Sheriffs Cory Walliser (left) and Brent Gillen (shown here with one of the athletes)
also provided support.