The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics began in 1981 in Kansas when Wichita Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds and increase awareness for Special Olympics. Chief LaMunyon created the Torch Run as a way to involve his officers in the community by running a torch relay for their local Special Olympics.
The idea for the Torch Run was to provide law enforcement officers with an opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics in the communities where they lived and worked. After three years of successful runs in Kansas, Chief LaMunyon presented his idea to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which endorsed Special Olympics International as its official charity through the Torch Run.
More than 30 years later, the Torch Run has grown to include more than 46 countries. In 2012, 97,000+ law enforcement officers raised more than $46.3 million to support community-based sport programs for people with intellectual disabilities. The Torch Run has become the largest grassroots fundraising effort for Special Olympics.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Virginia is officially endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff's Association, the Virginia Sheriff's Association, the Virginia Association of Regional Jails, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the Virginia Department of Corrections and the National Association of School Resource Officers. Since 1986, the Torch Run has raised more than $16 million for Special Olympics Virginia.