Special Olympics logo.

Law Enforcement Torch Run

Check out events happening for Law Enforcement Torch Run below.

2024 Polar Plunge

Click here to learn to find your city.

Truck Convoy

Click here to learn more about the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics.

A Humble Beginning

Officer sitting with a young Special Olympics athlete.The Law Enforcement Torch Run® began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas (USA), Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle.

At its most basic level, the Torch Run is an actual running event in which officers and athletes run the “Flame of Hope” to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, State Games, and National Summer or Winter Games.

At its most fully developed, the Torch Run initiative encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles in addition to the Torch Run itself, such as T-shirt or merchandise sales, donations or pledges for runners in the Torch Run, corporate donations, special events such as Polar Plunges, golf tournaments or other events that have local appeal.

30 Years of South Dakota Law Enforcement Torch Run:

The Torch Run started in South Dakota in 1988, with two runs. One was a run from Mt. Rushmore to Rapid City and the other was from Sioux Falls to Vermillion. Almost $1,000.00 was raised. This event was repeated again in 1990 with the same amount of funds raised.

In 1991, law enforcement officers in South Dakota ran the first run across the state raising $5,652. The involvement of law enforcement agencies increase over the next few years with incredible results:

1991…………. $5,652
1992…………. $8,616
1993…………. $26,000
1994…………. $41,759
1995…………. $45,690
1996…………. $50,000
1997…………. $52,000
1998…………. $57,500
1999…………. $65,333
2000…………. $89,972
2001…………. $93,761

2002…………. $106,250
2003…………. $113,071
2004…………. $124,535
2005…………. $137,900
2006…………. $154,600
2007…………. $170,295
2008…………. $208,138
2009…………. $276,345
2010…………. $403,200
2011…………. $473,000
2012…………. $561,091

2013…………. $584,325
2014…………. $653,578
2015…………. $541,272
2016…………. $574,042
2017…………. $563,608
2018…………. $602,880
2019…………..$599,518
2020…………..$346,699
2021…………..$421.907
2022…………..$621,478

Two policeman standing with a team mascot dressed as a tiger.Special Olympics South Dakota has more than 2,750 participating Special Olympics athletes. The monies raised each year by the Torch Run go directly to the Special Olympics South Dakota State office to be used only within our state to benefit our athletes.

In the past, most of the Torch Run funds have been raised by the sale of t-shirts and by runners getting individual donations. It is necessary, for the continued success of the Torch Run, that all law enforcement agencies in our state be involved in the raising of funds. There are many ways for agencies to become involved. We need to all work together this year to help our state athletes. Thank you to all the agencies that are involved, their support is greatly appreciated! If you would like to order a shirt be sure to e-mail tgaines@sosd.org.

If you are a law enforcement employee and want to become involved with the Special Olympics South Dakota Torch Run please contact us: 

 
South Dakota Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council
 
Dave Stratton – SDLETR Director
Rapid City Police Department – Retired
 
Scott Price – SDLETR East River Assistant Director
Watertown Police Department – Patrol Sargent
 
Austin Drapeaux – SDLETR West River Assistant Director 
Spearfish Police Department – Officer
 
Michelle Paulsen
LETR Event Manager
800.585.2114 (Toll free)
605.331.4117 (Office)
605.214.7762 (Cell)
Email: mpaulsen@sosd.org

Eric Gage
LETR Event Manager
800.585.2114 (Toll free)
605.331.4117 (Office)
605-321-3287 (Cell)
Email: egage@sosd.org
 

Get Involved: