The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey is a statewide campaign coordinated and managed by all divisions of Law Enforcement officers and officials from throughout the state. Through their efforts, events are conducted year round by the Law Enforcement Community to raise funds for the Special Olympics Movement, serving the athletes of New Jersey. In addition to fundraising, Law Enforcement volunteer at athlete events year round while serving as ambassadors in local communities.
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. Today over $2M is raised annually by more than 3,000 officers through local and statewide events including the Law Enforcement Torch Run as part of the annual Summer Games in June.