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The man behind the first Torch Run in 1981 was Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyan. 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.

Today, the Torch Run is more than just a run and encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles such as T-shirt and merchandise sales, special events to include polar bear plunges, tip-a-cop and building sits and a host of other events that have local, state and national appeal.

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 Olympic athletes.


In 2002, Sydney played host to the 7th National Games of Special Olympics Australia. As a prelude to the Opening Ceremony for the Games, New South Wales Police were asked by Special Olympics New South Wales to participate in a "Torch Run" from Hobart, Tasmania to Sydney, New South Wales.

New South Wales took up the challenge and met members of the Victoria Police Torch Run team at Albury/Wodonga on the Murray River. They took charge of the Flame of Hope and ran it to Sydney, culminating in its arrival by Police Launch to Darling Harbour followed by a run into the Opening Ceremony being held at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.

In September 2006, New South Wales Police again responded to the call and conducted a Torch Run from Sydney to the Gold Coast where the Flame of Hope was handed over to Queensland Police who took it around various country centres in Queensland before arriving at the Opening Ceremony of the 8th National Games of Special Olympics Australia.

Shortly afterwards, the LETR (NSW) Committee was formed by a number of serving and retired New South Wales Police Officers. There is much to do in the coming years to ensure that the organisation grows stronger and the funds raised to support Special Olympics (NSW) increases.


Special Olympics is a not-for-profit organisation that provides sports training and competition for people with an intellectual disability.

The organisation was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the United States. Today, Special Olympics supports more than 2.25 million people with an intellectual disability in 169 countries.

The values of the movement are defined as:

The Special Olympics movement will transform communities by inspiring people throughout the world to open their
minds, accept and include people with intellectual disabilities and thereby celebrate the similarities common to all people.

To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Athlete centred, locally delivered, weekly participation, by volunteers, and supporters.

For further information on Special Olympics click on the button below