Torch run kicks off Special Olympics Summer Games

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MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds of law enforcement officials traded in their police uniforms for sneakers through the Milwaukee area Thursday in celebration of the 40th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin.

The first leg of the run started at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The second leg of the run took officers from the Waukesha County Courthouse to the Waukesha Police Department, where Gov. Scott Walker carried the torch with Special Olympics athlete Tyler Derringer.

"It's a lot of fun.  It's nice to be running for something that isn't running for office," Gov. Walker said.

"It's kind of cool because me and him are both Eagle scouts, so it feels like I'm running with a fellow brother Eagle scout," Derringer said.

More than 200 law enforcement officers ran in the Torch Run to help raise funds and awareness for the 10,000 Special Olympics athletes across the state.

The run began in Milwaukee, and will end in Stevens Point.

"You see their faces and how appreciative they are of our emotional and financial support, and it's all worth it," Waukesha Police Chief Russel Jack said. 30 officers from his department participated in the run.

Last year, more than $1 million was raised to support Special Olympics.

"It's really for the athletes to gain self confidence and really have the competitive spirit," Kelly Lang, Development Director for Special Olympics Wisconsin said.

Gov. Walker said it's an event he hasn't missed in the last 10 years, taking time out of his busy political schedule since winning the recall election to be with others for a non-partisan cause.

"Some really tremendous athletes in the Special Olympics, and law enforcement that do this every year.  It's a great cause and it's good being out there supporting them and not having to worry about anything else except getting back to work and governing the state," Gov. Walker said.

The 2,000 mile torch relay ends at Stevens Point, where the Special Olympics Summer Games is held.  Opening ceremonies take place Thursday, June 7th, with the tournament Friday and Saturday (June 8th and 9th).

CLICK HERE for additional information regarding the 26th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin.