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SCSO Participates in Special Olympics Torch Run

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Torch Run

Early this morning, members of the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, as well as members of the greater Sussex County Law Enforcement community, joined the more than 3,000 officers that are taking to the streets of their local communities as “Guardians of the Flame” 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.  Although our members participate each year, this year is particularly special as it marks the 40th Anniversary of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Torch Run.


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.


This year’s  Annual Torch Run will precede the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games taking place at the College of NJ campus in Ewing, NJ from June 9-11.


For more information or to make a donation in support of Special Olympics New Jersey please visit their website at


Sheriff Strada is immensely proud of all the participating officers and congratulates them on their involvement in this very worthy cause.

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