The Edison Police Department is proud of our 46 runners in this year’s Torch Run who each completed the 6.2 mile course along Route 27 from Woodbridge to Highland Park, joined briefly by Metuchen PD as we traveled through the borough nestled within the borders of Edison. Along the course, supporters came out to cheer and the Edison Firefighters offered water at two of the firehouses. We also thank the many elected officials and dignitaries who joined us for a prelude ceremony.
On Friday, June 11th, more than 3,000 officers took to the streets of their local communities on one of 26 separate routes to help carry the “Flame of Hope” a distance of nearly 750 miles throughout the Garden State to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey.
History of the NJ Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics
In 1982, the late Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officer Steven Vitale was asked to take photos at a local Special Olympics competition in New Jersey. He was so moved by the determination exhibited by the athletes that he asked other police officers to volunteer at the Summer Games. In 1984, the first New Jersey Torch Run was conceived to raise funds and public awareness for the Special Olympics New Jersey program. The course ran from Liberty State Park in Jersey City to Rutgers Stadium in New Brunswick, through eight towns, covering 43 miles and raising $7,000. In each succeeding year, the dollar amount became greater and the number of volunteers increased substantially.
Driven by the willingness of the New Jersey Law Enforcement officers to do more, the Law Enforcement Torch Run began to expand over the years. New fundraising events and initiatives were created and held throughout the Garden State to promote the Special Olympics movement. With over $4 million raised annually by more than 3,000 officers through local and statewide events, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey has been recognized in the world for many years as one of the top grassroots fundraising organizations for Special Olympics. Fundraising events that are conducted year-round in New Jersey include an Adopt-a-Cop campaign for the annual Torch Run, three Polar Bear Plunges, the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K, the United Airlines Plane Pull and golf outings to name a few. In addition to fundraising, Law Enforcement officers volunteer at athlete competitions and events year-round, while serving as ambassadors in local communities.