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Law Enforcement Torch Run Campaign for Special Olympics Washington

All around the world, Special Olympics has a formidable and caring legion of protectors and supporters: the law enforcement community.

All around the world, Special Olympics has a formidable and caring legion of protectors and supporters: the law enforcement community.The Law Enforcement Torch Run Campaign for Special Olympics is the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle. The LETR Campaign has raised more than $40 million for Special Olympics Programs around the world. More than 85,000 law enforcement personnel carried the “Flame of Hope” across 35 nations. 

The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 when Police Chief Richard LaMunyon, of Wichita, Kansas saw an urgent need to raise awareness of and funds for Special Olympics. Police Chief LaMunyon realized the importance of Special Olympics in the lives of Special Olympics athletes and conceived the idea to have law enforcement personnel obtain pledges from their family, friends and co-workers for a Torch Run, known as the “Flame of Hope.” 

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP’s) lent its support to this growing movement. With the IACP’s enthusiastic support and leadership, it now includes not only law enforcement officers, but all levels and branches of the law enforcement community.

At the most basic level, the LETR Campaign is an actual running event in which law enforcement and athletes run the “Flame of Hope” to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, State Games, and National Summer or Winter Games. As part of the Opening Ceremonies, a law enforcement participant passes the Torch to a Special Olympics athlete to light the flame that signals the opening of the Games.

At its most developed, the LETR Campaign initiative encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles in addition the Torch Run itself, such as merchandise sales, donations/pledges, corporate donations and special events that have local appeal.

Law Enforcement Torch Run in Washington State

The LETR Campaign began in Washington State in 1982. In addition to the thousands of miles law enforcement personnel has traveled with the “Flame of Hope” to the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Games; hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised each year for local Special Olympics athletes.

Over 2,000 individuals including, chiefs, sheriffs, officers, sheriffs, deputies, military personnel, and other law enforcement personnel from virtually every branch of federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement, represent over 97 different agencies.

Funds are generated through the sale of the popular LETR Campaign T-shirts and through various annual activities such as: Polar Plunges, Tip-A-Cops, Roof Sits, raffles, t-shirt sales and many more activities—raising more than $650,000 for local Special Olympics programs. 

Washington State’s goal is to raise one million dollars by 2014 for the athletes for Special Olympics!

Circle of Honor Agencies

Platinum Level ($60,000+)

  • Kennewick Police Department

Gold Level ($30,000+)

  • Tukwila Police Department
  • Seattle Police Department 
  • Veteran Affairs Police Department
  • West Plains Law Enforcement 

Silver Level ($15,000+)

  • Yakima Police Department
  • Yakima County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mountlake Terrace Police Department 

Bronze Level ($7,500+)

  • Centralia Police Department
  • Redmond Police Department
  • Marysville Police Department
  • Monroe Police Department
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office 

Honor Roll ($2,500+)

  • Kettle Falls Police Department
  • Ellensburg Police Department
  • Fircrest Police Department
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord 
  • Clallam County Sheriff’s Office
  • Clark County Sheriff’s Office 
  • Bothell Police Department
  • US Marshals Service of Spokane
  • Federal Law Enforcement (FEST)
  • Skagit County Law Enforcement - In Memory of Deputy Anne Jackson
  • Richland Police Department
  • Federal Way Police Department
  • Bellevue Police Department
  • Spokane County Sheriff’s Office 
  • Puyallup Police Department 

Supporters of the LETR Campaign include: Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), Fraternal Order of Police, Washington State Patrol Troopers Association (WSPTA) and Washington State Law Enforcement Association.