COEUR D'ALENE, IDAHO - Law enforcement officers in North Idaho traded in their uniforms for running shorts and tennis shoes early on Thursday. From Police Chiefs to County Sheriffs to military service members, they all got together for the Special Olympics torch run.
KHQ Local News arrived at Riverstone just in time to see all the officers and athletes run together with the torch towards a common goal. The Special Olympics kicks off Friday in Boise, and the retired Police Chief of Bonner's Ferry, Dave Kramer, expressed how excited everyone is for the event.
"It's a lot of excitement. For the athletes, they've been training year round so this is an exciting event where they finally get to compete. And the athlete oath is: 'let me win, and if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.' So when you watch the athletes compete, you see how they support each other, and how they are appreciative of everything that law enforcement and the public do. Law enforcement last year raised over 33 million dollars for Special Olympic athletes," he told KHQ.
Over 2700 athletes will compete in this weekend's Special Olympics in Boise, and there will be a variety of events including basketball, running, cycling, and even powerlifting. The torch run has changed in North Idaho since they first started doing it 25 years ago. In years past, the agencies would run the entire county and pass the torch onto an officer in another county. Now they've scaled back. On Thursday, they ran through Riverstone, but the enthusiasm for the Special Olympics hasn't changed a bit.
Law enforcement agencies are the largest grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympic events across the globe.