On March 27, 2006, the Florida Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run began in the town of Century, just south of the Alabama state line. The Florida Highway Patrol, along with other area law enforcement agencies, participated in this important event again this year.
The Escambia county leg of the run included some of the Special Olympic athletes who participated in the run. The runners made their way to Bertram Park on Pensacola Bay where lunch was served for all of the participants.
The Torch was then transported across Pensacola Bay by area law enforcement marine units, along with the athletes, to deliver the torch to Santa Rosa County participants who completed their leg of the run the following day.
The Torch proceeded through the state, including the Capital City of Tallahassee, where the FHP Academy got involved. This year, the 112th Recruit Class and the Academy Staff, including Chief Silvester Dawson, carried the Torch on its way through the Capital to pass it on to the next willing participant in the journey.
Law enforcement officers from over 300 Florida agencies (The Florida Highway Patrol, police departments, sheriff's offices, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Customs, Air Force Police and Marine Patrol) all participate in the state-wide torch run to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Florida. Each year, over 3,000 officers carry the torch on a 1500-mile relay through more than 60 counties in Florida.
Funds are generated through contributions from individuals and businesses along the way and through sales of the popular Torch Run T-shirts and caps.
This event is held each year prior to Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games. The intrastate torch relay lasts the entire month of April, covers the entire state of Florida, and completes its Florida journey in Tampa.