Thursday morning, June 9, 2016, on the front steps of the Hall of Justice, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced LASD’s participation with other law enforcement agencies in the relay event and received the Flame of Hope torch from a representative of a local, participating agency.
Executive Officer Tyler and Assistant Sheriff Barrantes ran with Special Olympics Athlete and Global Messenger Marco Martinez carrying the torch on a leg of the relay to Los Angeles Union Station and handed it to the next runner from the Transit Policing Division, LASD Chief Ronene Anda. The torch, which began its week-long journey on Monday, June 6, 2016, will continue its trek through Southern California until it arrives at California State University Long Beach.
Approximately 200 deputies from numerous LASD stations and divisions will participate in the relay as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics. This movement was initiated in 1986 by Southern California law enforcement personnel to raise funds for, and awareness of, the Special Olympics athletes in this region. Since then, they have worked together annually to support this special program by carrying the Flame of Hope™ torch on a journey to the Special Olympics Summer Games Opening Ceremonies.
“Special Olympics gives opportunity, and instills in its competitors a sense of independence, confidence and accomplishment,” said Sheriff McDonnell. “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is proud to support Special Olympics, and it is easy to see that support carried through in the smiling faces we see today.”
The Law Enforcement Torch Run has since become much more than an annual run for Special Olympics Summer Games; for the 3,500 officers in Southern California involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, it represents honor, respect and pride. It has grown to become a worldwide community of law enforcement officers rallying to support Special Olympics through a series of fundraising events, including torch runs.
Collectively, nearly 150 Southern California communities will run a total of 500 miles on local streets and highways. Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will join hundreds of other participating law enforcement personnel from across the state and converge Saturday, June 11, 2016, at the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies held on the campus of California State University Long Beach. Together, the deputies and officers will welcome the athlete delegations.
At the end of the journey for the Flame of Hope™, one athlete and one law enforcement officer will ignite the cauldron to kick off the Opening Ceremonies.Throughout the weekend, 2,000 athletes will participate in six sports.