Torch Run Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations are due, on many levels. First to the winners of the second annual Torch Run Photo Contest in each category. The following programs have earned this recognition in one of the two categories:depicting law enforcement as “Guardians of the Flame” (category A), and the other featuring law enforcement with Special Olympics Athletes (category B). Each is inspirational and the judging panel struggled to select among them. The panel consisted of six judges, including staff from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Special Olympics International. The winners were selected on September 6, 2002. Over 50 programs entered this year’s contest, with many compelling photos to consider in each submission. These are among the most active participants of the Torch Run for Special Olympics; many had moving stories to share of exceptional fundraising and awareness growth over the past year. Perhaps what most deserves recognition is the Torch Run effort itself – now just over 20 years old. This annual contest gives visual representation to the rewarding experiences that law enforcement around the world are enjoying by participating. This endeavor gives law enforcement personnel worldwide the opportunity to connect with people in their community who are often neglected, looked down upon or pushed aside. For decades law enforcement officers have been raising funds to help their local Special Olympics athletes fully participate and enjoy the events. What started as a relay run with the Special Olympics torch, in a small town in Kansas, has ballooned to the largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics. In 2002, the Torch Run programs combined to raise over $20 million, through relay runs, billboard sits, plane pulls, polar bear plunges, raffles, golf tournaments and many other creative efforts including serving at local restaurants to donate their tips to the cause. Currently there are active Torch Run programs in all 50 US states, in all 10 Canadian provinces and in 32 countries world wide, with expansion activities continually planned for the future. The images featured in the annual Torch Run photo contest depict only a modicum of the gratification everyone gets by participation in the Torch Run program. If you would like more information about your local Torch Run program, or about starting one, contact the chair of the IACP Torch Run Committee, Lorne White at oletre@aol.com or the IACP staff liaison, Elisa Cohen at cohene@theiacp.org or at 800-THE-IACP.

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