Sgt. Christopher DeBack, Biloxi Police Department, hands the torch over to Maj. Brenton Pickrell, 14th Security Forces Squadron Commander before the beginning of the Torch Run May 6 for Law Enforcement Week. The run was to benefit Mississippi Special Olympics. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile)
5/7/2014 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Members of the 14th Security Forces Squadron participated in a "Torch Run" May 6 for Law Enforcement Week to benefit Mississippi Special Olympics.
"The Torch symbolizes the support law enforcement has for the Special Olympics," said Maj. Brenton Pickrell, 14th Security Forces Squadron commander. "It's something that we do annually for Police Week. It's a time to support law enforcement as a profession and to remember the fallen law enforcement officers historically and over the past year."
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there were 105 line-of-duty deaths in law enforcement nationwide in 2013.
Members passed the torch from person to person along a 2.3 mile route on base.
The mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is to increase awareness and raise funds for the Special Olympics movement.
The event raises $42.6 million annually and recruits more than 15,000 law enforcement officers from all over the world. According to the Special Olympics website, since the International Torch Run Program's inception, it has raised more than US $414 million for Special Olympics world-wide. More than 142,000 volunteers from 113 LETR programs across all 50 states and 48 countries every year carry the "Flame of Hope", raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics.
The torch that was passed around during the run began its journey in Southaven, Miss. and was passed to Columbus AFB, Miss. as just one part of its 300-mile journey that will end on Keesler Air Force Base signal the beginning of the 2014 Mississippi Special Olympics Summer Games May 9. The torch is carried through 21 communities by more than 100 agencies throughout the state.
Pickrell said the Torch Run is something that law enforcement is proud of nationwide.