Law Enforcement has been proudly participating in events and partnering with Special Olympics for many years.
The International Torch Run was created by Police Chief Richard LaMunyon in 1981 in Wichita, Kansas. In 1982, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officer Steven Vitale was a volunteer photographer at the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games. He was so moved by the determination exhibited by the athletes that he asked other police officers to volunteer. In 1984, the first New Jersey Torch Run was conceived, running through eight towns covering 43 miles from Liberty State Park in Jersey City to Rutgers Stadium in New Brunswick and raising $7,000. In each succeeding year, the dollar amount became greater and the number of volunteers increased substantially. Annually, more than 3,000 officers carry the Torch over 1,000 miles through hundreds of communities throughout the state.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is part of an international campaign for Special Olympics, coordinated and managed by all divisions of Law Enforcement officers and officials from throughout the world, whose mission is to raise dollars and awareness of the Special Olympics movement worldwide. The statewide Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey has been recognized in the world for many years as one of the top grassroots fundraising organizations for Special Olympics.
Fundraising events are conducted year-round in New Jersey and include an Adopt-a-Cop campaign for the annual Torch Run, three Polar Bear Plunges, the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K Fun Run/Walk, the United Plane Pull, golf outings and an ever-evolving menu of local initiatives. In addition to fundraising, Law Enforcement volunteers at athlete competitions and events year-round, while serving as ambassadors in local communities.