M. Terry / SFVS

Down the streets they came throughout the City of San Fernando, pounding the pavement in shorts, sweats, leggings and headbands and carrying a a flame symbolizing support and hope for a very special group of athletes.

The San Fernando Police Running Team, which was joined by city employees, DMV investigations and LA School Police, made their annual Law enforcement Torch Run on Wednesday, Jun 6, to raise awareness and dollars for the Special Olympics of Southern California (SOCA).

The flame from the torch will be used to light the cauldron at the Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games at Cal State University of Long Beach. The games take place there June 9 and 10.

“We are so excited to again be a part of this run,” said SFPD Field Training Officer and Canine Officer Walter Dominguez. “Over the past three years when the torch has been run through our city, we have seen hundreds of people line the streets and this has inspired us to continue to be a part of this great cause.” 

The 1.8 mile route took the two columns of runners from O’Melveny Elementary Street School — the starting point — through various city locations including the courthouse, civic center and San Fernando Mall — before arriving at the Rydell Automotive complex where the torch was passed to runners from the LAPD’s Foothill Division.

The torch was brought to San Fernando, and carried by Gisele Hernandez, a Special Olympian and former student at O’Melveny Elementary.

In addition to their run, the San Fernando running team also raised nearly $3,500 in donations to give to SOCA.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOCA is the largest public awareness vehicle and grassroots fundraiser with more than 3,500 officers in Southern California taking part.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is represented in all 50 U.S. states, Canadian provinces and 46 nations with 97,000 officers around the world, raising more than half a billion dollars since its inception in 1981. The Law Enforcement Torch Run in Southern California is one of the leading programs in the world, raising $1.52 million in 2016 with participants representing 200 law enforcement agencies.