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Police Department

Law Enforcement Torch Run For Special Olympics

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Law Enforcement Torch Run begin?

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas (USA) Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds and increase awareness of Special Olympics. He conceived of the idea of a Torch Run as a way to involve local law enforcement personnel in the community with Special Olympics. Three years later, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) leant its support and leadership, as well as the involvement of all facets of the law enforcement community-sheriff's associations, police unions, state, county, municipal, military, and federal law enforcement agencies, and corrections officers.

When did Nashville join the Law Enforcement Torch Run?

In 1986 the IACP conference was held in Nashville, Tennessee. During the conference then Metro Police Chief, Joe Casey, initiated the Tennessee Law Enforcement Torch Run. In 1995 Chief Turner appointed Captain Ron Hooper to oversee the Metro Police Department's involvement with the Torch Run. Captain Hooper has since retired, but the Metro Nashville Police Department has watched its commitment grow from $50,000 in 1995 to more than $100,000.

How do law enforcement officers raise money?

Most Torch Run programs raise money through the Torch Run itself; law enforcement officers who participate in the Run collect pledges in order to participate or collect sponsorships for each mile they run. The sales of Torch Run t-shirts to runners and to the public also generates significant money. The Law enforcement Torch Run has blossomed into a year-round fund raising initiative. Each year members of the Metro Police Department work together to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics with various fundraising events such as Cops & Lobsters with area Red Lobster Restaurants, a community day with Wal-Mart, silent auctions, an annual golf tournament, and T-shirt sales.

Did you know…?

  • Special Olympics Tennessee now serves more than 12,000 of our state's athletes in all 95 counties.
  • Special Olympics Tennessee offers year-round athletic training and competition in 18 different sports categories.
  • Special Olympics Tennessee has more than 3,000 active volunteers.
  • Special Olympics Tennessee is an IRS determined 501© (3) private, non-profit, charitable organization.

For more information on Special Olympics Tennessee visit the Special Olympics Tennessee website. You can also visit the official Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Website.

A current two-month calendar of events is posted and updated often. There is a phone line available for those who do not have internet access that will provide current information on upcoming events - (615) 880-3004. Callers can leave a message that will be returned within three working days.

Registering for Events

If you wish to participate in an upcoming event please complete the form for the prospective event and return with entry fee to Law Enforcement Torch Run c/o Metro Police Department, 200 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, Tennessee, 37201. Each event has an event coordinator that can answer any questions you may have. All events carry the required permits and insurance.


Individuals and businesses are encouraged to become sponsors of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Information on sponsorship opportunities is listed below. Simply complete the sponsorship form and either mail to Law Enforcement Torch Run c/o Metro Police Department, 200 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, Tennessee, 37201, or fax to (615) 880-3033 c/o Sgt. Anna-Maria Williams.

Where Do the Funds Go?

The majority of money raised through the Torch Run stays right in our community, helping our local Special Olympics Program grow. 60% of every fund raising dollar benefits hometown Special Olympics athletes, while 40% is used for the benefit of Special Olympic programs across the state.

What can these Funds do?

Amount Provides
$25 12 gold medals for a winning softball team
$50 Lunch for 10 athletes at the Summer Games
$100 Training for 40 coaches
$300 Housing, meals, and transportation for two athletes to participate in the Summer Games
$500 Uniforms & sports equipment for a 10 member
Soccer team
$2,000 A reception for the families of Special Olympics
athletes at the Summer Games
$5,000 Entire funding for the Unified Basketball

Photo Galleries

Guy in a grass skirt and Hawaiian shirt
Polar Bear Plunge 2004
Cops on Doughnut Shops alternate view
Cops on Doughnut Shops
Officers in the run
Torch Run 2002
Polar plungers standing ready
Polar Bear Plunge 2002