Upper Marlboro, MD… Sheriff Melvin C. High joined County Executive Rushern Baker and Hyattsville City Chief of Police Douglas Holland, along with County Police Chief Magaw and other law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the region today at a ceremony to begin the first leg of the Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Chief Holland, who chairs the Law Enforcement Torch Run, saluted each of the regional agencies for their participation, including several police training academies.
“The Maryland Special Olympics Torch Run is the second most successful in terms of the amount of money we raise because of all of you and your support,” said Chief Holland.
Addressing police officers and recruits participating in the Torch Run for the first time, Chief Holland urged and challenged them to be involved in as many Special Olympics activities as possible throughout their careers.
Sheriff High recalled the many Special Olympics events he’s been involved in over the course of his career in law enforcement saying, “I always get a special feeling watching Special Olympics athletes compete and seeing the joy and sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that’s clearly visible on their faces.” The Sheriff went on to say that the growth of Special Olympics has always been a source of pride for him knowing the role that the law enforcement community has played in that growth.
More than 100 athletes and law enforcement officers participated in the first leg of the Run, following the Olympic Flame that was presented by a Prince George’s County Maryland Special Olympian Elijah Harrod and County Police Student Officer Dane Slavin, from the Hyattsville Courthouse ceremony to lunch at the American Legion Post in College Park. Student Officer Slavin carried on a family tradition in that his parents are former law enforcement officers who had also participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
The Torch Run ends with the opening ceremony of the 2014 Special Olympics Summer Games. It began in 1981 as an idea of Witchita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon, who wanted to involve law enforcement in Special Olympics to raise money.
When the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) embraced the idea three year later, the project took off, and with IACP support law enforcement community involvement grew to include organizations at every level of government.
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