Cambridge Police Department hosts Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run

MD-Law enforcement torch run

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Local student participants and Special Olympic competitors make their run through Cambridge during the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Tuesday.

CAMBRIDGE—Cambridge Police participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics on Tuesday. Joining with them in the run, which started in Vienna and came through downtown Cambridge, were students from the DARE program at Maces Lane, Maple Elementary, Sandy Hill and Choptank Elementary, and some guest special Olympians. The annual Torch Run is held across the country to raise awareness and funding for the Special Olympics.

“The Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run is our way of supporting the Special Olympics,” said Chief Dan Dvorak. “Last week we raised over $4,000 at ‘Cops on Rooftops’ at Dunkin’ Donuts. This week we had over a dozen police officers and civilian employees help with the torch run and cookout afterwards. The torch run participants had so much fun running and riding bicycles (and wheelchairs!) along Route 50 from Vienna to Cambridge that the time went by fast. Tractor trailers blew their horns and cars beeped in support of Special Olympics as they passed our runners and bikers.

“Parading through downtown was especially heartwarming,” continued the Chief, “as business owners, their customers and pedestrians stopped to cheer for the participants. I especially liked seeing the Special Olympians beaming with pride as the crowds cheered for them.”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle, At its most basic level the Torch Run is an actual running event, in which officers and athletes run the Flame of Hope™ to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions and State and National Games. Annually, more than 85,000 dedicated, compassionate and volunteer law enforcement officers participate in the torch run throughout 46 nations, 12 Canadian provinces and 50 US states, raising more than $51 Million USD for local Special Olympics programs in 2014 and over $560 Million since its inception in 1981.

Cambridge police Sargent Antoine Patton, who organized the event for Cambridge, commented, “Special Olympics means ‘opportunity.’ It’s a chance for our intellectually challenged athletes to have the opportunity to perform, be praised, and be recognized.”

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 adopted 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.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run transforms communities by inspiring people to open their minds, to accept and 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.

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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