Law Enforcement Torch Run®
What is the Law Enforcement Torch Run?
The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics is the largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle in the world. The annual Torch Run and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics. At its most basic level, the LETR is a running event in which officers and athletes carry the Flame of Hope™ to the Opening Ceremony of Special Olympics local competitions and State Games. Overall, the LETR initiative encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles. The LETR in Iowa hosts a variety of special events like Polar Plunge®, Cop on Top, Tip a Cop, Truck Convoy, Plane Pull and much more.
History of the Law Enforcement Torch Run
LETR began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. The LETR was quickly endorsed by Special Olympics, Inc. and the International Chiefs of Police (IACP), now recognized as the Founding Law Enforcement Organization of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. More than 96,000 law enforcement in all 50 U.S. States, 12 Canadian provinces/territories, and 44 other countries contribute to LETR efforts annually as Guardians of the Flame®, ensuring the delivery of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope™ to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, state/provincial Games, and national/regional Games.
LETR began in 1987 in Iowa and has evolved into the largest grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics Iowa. The highly emotional Final Leg of the run involves officers statewide converging on Hilton Coliseum to pass the torch to a Special Olympics athlete who, in turn, lights the Olympic flame at the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Iowa State Summer Games.
How Can You Get Involved?
Participate in the Torch Run
Each year law enforcement officers carry the Special Olympics Torch along planned routes, covering all corners of our state. The Final Leg involves officers running the torch from Des Moines to Ames, converging on Hilton Coliseum to pass the torch to a Special Olympics Iowa athlete who, in turn, lights the Olympic flame at the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Iowa State Summer Games. As an officer, you can collect donations and run in the leg nearest your location.
Learn more about the Iowa Final Leg
If you prefer not to run, organize a fundraiser or simply raise money for an existing fundraiser.
Cop on Top, Tip a Cop or selling Supporter Shirts are a great start in getting your department involved. Committees also put on various fundraising events year-round that you can organize a team for such as Polar Plunge, Plane Pull, Over the Edge and much more!
Learn more about Fundraising Events
In 2014, LETR raised over $800,000 for Iowa athletes, giving them opportunities to participate in year-round sports, health and educational programming - and most importantly - experience joy, pride and respect.
Law Enforcement Torch Run® Sponsors