Photo provided // Officers from various Hamilton County police departments enter downtown Noblesville Friday during the annual Torch Run to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics Indiana.
Photo provided // Officers from various Hamilton County police departments enter downtown Noblesville Friday during the annual Torch Run to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics Indiana.
Police officers and the Special Olympics go hand-in-hand – or should we say foot-by-foot. 

For the 10th year, Hamilton County police officers participated in the annual “Torch Run” to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics Indiana. This year’s run took place last Friday and helped raised money and awareness for the Special Olympics.

“The thought was here to do something within Hamilton County where all of our police agencies could come together one particular day and show our support for (the Special Olympics),” said Lt. Bruce Barnes, Hamilton County Special Olympics Outreach coordinator and Noblesville Police Department’s public information officer. 

The Torch Run consists of officers from various police agencies, such as Carmel, Fishers, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, Indiana State Police, Noblesville and Westfield, to start at different points in the county based on their respective jurisdiction.

Each agency covered between 4 to 8 miles, leaving at 10:30 a.m. and then converging at downtown Noblesville at the square at 12:30 p.m. to run a lap around the square with Special Olympic Indiana athletes.

Special Olympics Indiana recently held their 50th annual summer games in Terre Haute, Indiana on June 8–10. According to soindiana.org, a record of 2,745 competitors competed in the games.

The Torch Run is usually held a week before the Special Olympics summer games. However, this year, the date changed after the Noblesville West Middle School shooting on May 25.

The Torch Run was originally set for June 1. Barnes said after the shooting event, the timing for this event no longer felt right, causing him to reschedule to last Friday.

According to Barnes, 50 officers participated in this year’s Torch Run. Usually more would participate, however, the date change caused some officers to not be able to attend. 

Barnes still thinks the event was a success.

“Our objective is this: making ourselves available, and again, raising awareness, raising funds, being there for the Special Olympic Athletes,” Barnes said. “So that was our objective. Did we accomplish all three of those? Absolutely.”

Yes, the number of officers for this year’s Torch Run were down a little bit because of scheduling conflicts, yet that is not what determines success in this event, Barnes said. Barnes believes the officers did everything they set out to do last Friday.

Barnes organizes this event every year on behalf of the county. He works with a representative from each agency to help officers register and figure out routes for every department.

The amount raised for the event is unsure, as they are still calculating the total amount raised, but Barnes said they raise between $3,000 to $5,000 each year.

Those who are interested in donating to the cause can still do so online at www.firstgiving.com/team/376089