Thursday, June 6, 2013

Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run Kicks-off Summer Games (Begins First Leg in Hyattsville)

Upper Marlboro, MD… Sheriff Melvin C. High and Chief Assistant Sheriff Darrin Palmer joined Hyattsville City Chief of Police Douglas Holland and other law enforcement officers from agencies in the region today at the opening ceremony for the first leg of the Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run. Chief Holland, Sheriff High and Deputy Chief Hector Velez from the County Police Department saluted Special Olympics athletes and recalled the tradition of law enforcement’s support of the Torch Run and Special Olympics in Maryland.
Chief Holland, who chairs the Law Enforcement Torch Run, urged new officers to get involved. He said, “To all the new police officers and recruits here today, I challenge you to get involved with as many Special Olympics activities as you can during your careers. The Maryland Special Olympics program is a standard bearer for others like it around the world, and we raise more money than many other programs because of the support of individuals like you who keep it strong.”
Sheriff High said he had been involved with Special Olympics for over 30 years and also urged new officers to support the program, saying, “It’s been a pleasure to see the program grow over the years and a source of pride knowing that the law enforcement community helped to fuel that growth.”
About 100 athletes and law enforcement officers participated in the first leg of the Run, which went from the Hyattsville Courthouse ceremony to the American Legion Post in College Park, where lunch was provided for the runners. From College Park, runners go on to Laurel, then finally to Towson – the final leg in the State Torch Run that ends with the opening ceremony of the 2013 Special Olympics Summer Games.

“Every year we are reminded of the strength and commitment of support we get from our colleagues, fellow officers and friends for this great event. As a parent of a Special Olympics athlete and a member of law enforcement, I’m proud and thankful for the friends our program has. They are what makes it all work,” said Chief Holland.
The Sheriff’s Office Motors Unit escorted the runners and provided a bus for runners who might need a break along the route and to transport them back to the Courthouse at the end of the Run.
The Torch Run was the idea of Police Chief Richard LaMunyon of Witchita, Kansas, who hoped to involve law enforcement in the idea 1981, to raise money to support Special Olympics.
The idea took off when the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) embraced the project just three year later. With the support of IACP, law enforcement community involvement grew to include organizations at every level of government.
For more information contact the Communications and Public Affairs Division at 301-780-2773.       

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