The LETR Initiative

From a Flicker to a Flame

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics (LETR) began in 1981, when Wichita, Kansas (USA) Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to increase awareness of Special Olympics. He also saw it as an ideal way to get local law enforcement personnel involved with the Special Olympics community. The LETR was quickly adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), now recognized as the founding organization of the Special Olympics Law enforcement Torch Run®. What started as a flicker, thirty-seven years ago, has grown into a roaring flame of support and stability for Special Olympics athletes worldwide.

Carrying the Flame of Hope

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, state and provincial Games, and National Summer or Winter Games. In addition, every two years, law enforcement officers from around the world gather to carry the Flame of Hope® in a Final Leg Torch Run in honor of the Special Olympics World Summer or World Winter Games.

Overall, the LETR initiative encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles. These include T-shirt and merchandise sales, donations and pledges for runners who participate in the LETR, corporate partnerships, and special events such as Polar Plunge®, Tip-A-Cop®, World’s Largest Truck Convoy ®, Cops on Top®, golf tournaments and other events that have extensive local appeal.


Special Olympics Maryland

Special Olympics Mission

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

Special Olympics Philosophy

Special Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy, and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. These must be adapted only as necessary to meet the needs of those with mental and physical limitations.

Special Olympics believes that consistent training is indispensable to the development of an individual’s sports skills. In addition, competition among those of equal abilities is the most appropriate means of testing these skills, measuring progress, and providing incentives for personal growth.

Special Olympics Maryland’s Vision

The vision of Special Olympics Maryland is to be the leader in lifelong and unified sports programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities, empowering athletes to be valued members of their community and respected members of society.

Special Olympics Maryland’s Values

The following six values guide all decisions and actions taken by staff, volunteers and athletes.

  • Community: We attempt to connect our athletes with their local COMMUNITY as much as possible. We use community facilities; we generate local publicity, and we portray the athletes and their families as local heroes. Connections and bridges are formed.
  • Friendships: We encourage FRIENDSHIPS among athletes and families throughout Special Olympics. We also encourage friendships with athletes without disabilities through their commonality of sport. The goal is friendships for life.
  • Integrity: Athletes develop INTEGRITY by doing the “right thing”.
  • Opportunity: All Special Olympics stakeholders are given the OPPORTUNITY to excel.
  • Quality: in all we do.
  • Sportsmanship: We follow the rules of the game by demonstrating good SPORTSMANSHIP and fairness for all.

Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath

“Let me win; but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Maryland Enforcement Torch Run (LETR)

The Special Olympics community is grateful to the officers from around the world who raise awareness and funds through the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics.

The Torch Run has historically been all about awareness for Law Enforcement support of Special Olympics Maryland but this year you can raise money for Special Olympics Maryland athletes while raising awareness! Registration is easy and open to any law enforcement agency member, military personnel or civilian that would like to participate. Follow the below steps to get started:

This is your chance to run with the Special Olympics torch and raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Maryland athletes! Thank you for your support of Special Olympics Maryland and our Athletes.

If you would like to order Torch Run T-Shirts to sell please email Betsy Jiron at
Remember to like our #letr4somd Facebook page for more updates and information about how you can get your agency involved!