Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics is the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle in the world.  The LETR has two goals: to raise money and to create awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics.

At it’s most basic level, the LETR is a running event in which officers, known as guardians of the flame, and athletes carry the “Flame of Hope” to the Opening Ceremony of a Special Olympics National Summer or Winter Games.

The LETR began in Kansas (USA) 1981, Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to increase awareness of Special Olympics. The LETR was quickly adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), now recognized as the founding law enforcement organization for the LETR.

Globally more than 110,000 police professionals and supporters across 42 countries participate in Law Enforcement Torch Runs

Law Enforcement Torch Run in New Zealand

LETR New Zealand took its first steps in 2009 in the lead up to the National Summer Games in Palmerston North.

A group of serving officers from across New Zealand ran two torches throughout the country, before meeting in Palmerston North for the opening ceremony where the Games cauldron was lit by Special Olympics athlete Hamish Taverner and Police Commissioner Howard Broad.

What we aim to achieve

For four decades the LETR has been changing the future for people with intellectual disabilities. Through the LETR and Special Olympics partnership we are lighting the way for acceptance and inclusion.

As well as increasing awareness of the movement and raising funds, the LETR New Zealand is also working with Special Olympics New Zealand promote and support its Young Athletes Programme – a sport and play programme for children with and without intellectual disabilities aged 2-7 years old.

The Flame represents so much of what policing is about - it stands for hope, courage, opportunity, inspiration and equality

- Inspector Mark Harrison, Director of LETR NZ


2021 National Summer Games LETR

The 2021 LETR and various celebrations across Aotearoa will take place on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 December.

With the assistance of Law Enforcement Officers the torch will be taken from Wellington, the last Summer Games destination, to Hamilton, home of the 2021 National Summer Games. Clubs around the country will be holding celebrations and we encourage anyone that can help to connect with their local Special Olympics club.