ABERDEEN – Runners and walkers are welcome to join members of the Aberdeen Police Department Oct. 19 at 8 a.m. to raise awareness for the Special Olympics. The localized leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run begins on Commerce Street at the Matubba Street intersection, near the electric department, and continues to Chestnut Street.

“Most people don’t realize how blessed they are when they have children who are born healthy with no issues unless you go to a place like LeBonheur. Most of these children are as loving as they can be and glad they get to participate,” said Aberdeen Police Chief Quinell Shumpert of children participating in the Special Olympics.

Shumpert said the Mississippi’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run begins in DeSoto County and follows routes down I-55 and Highway 45 to ultimately reach Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. The state’s Special Olympics fall games are Oct. 23.

The APD has participated in the torch run each year since the early 2000s, except for last year when COVID-19 forced it to be held as a virtual run.

According to a press release, the Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 by a police chief in Wichita, Kansas who thought a run would help both the Special Olympics and law enforcement by being active in the community.

It was endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police two years later and has since become an annual tradition for departments, raising more than $600 million for the Special Olympics.

People interested in donating towards the cause may do so at https://specialolympicsms.org.

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