By Sherri L. Jackson
More than 100 law enforcement officers participated in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run through the Alexandria /Pineville area Wednesday in an effort to get the torch to the Louisiana Special Olympics held in Hammond.
The state summer games will be May 21-23. Rapides Parish Sheriff Charles Wagner is expected to carry the torch inside of Strawberry Stadium on the grounds of Southeastern Louisiana University.
Wagner participated in Wednesday’s event.
Detective Ricky Ouber of the RPSO coordinated the event. Officers from Alexandria, Boyce, Leesville, Fort Polk Military Police, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State Police and other agencies participated in the event.
Kathy Smith with the Louisiana Probation and Parole received the annual award for her contributions to the event. Smith is the Central Louisiana coordinator.
Ouber said runners will leave with the torch at 7 a.m. Thursday headed towards Hammond by way of Marksville, Bunkie. They will join up with other law enforcement officers in Krotz Springs and continue the journey.
The Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kan., Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. Today, hundreds of citizens in the United States and more than 50 foreign countries can witness the Olympic Torch being carried by dedicated members of law enforcement through their communities on its journey to the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Games, according to the Louisiana Special Olympics Web site.
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