Garden Grove PD carries torch for Special Olympics, and readies for second run

By Greg Hardesty

Once is not enough.

The Garden Grove PD participated in the Torch Run for the Special Olympics last week, and is set to do it again this week, on Friday, June 8 — joining other law enforcement agencies that do two legs.

A team of more than 30 runners, escorted by five patrol units, ran 3 miles on Thursday, May 31 before the torch was handed off to the Anaheim PD at Chapman Avenue and Harbor Boulevard.

Torch run teams from the Garden Grove PD and Anaheim PD gather as the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch is passed.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The GGPD’s second torch run will start at around 10 a.m. on Friday at Knott Avenue and Orangewood Avenue, with an expected 30 runners heading south to Garden Grove Boulevard and Knott Avenue, where the team will pass the torch off to the Westminster PD.

Expected to cheer the runners on again this year will be students at Patton Elementary School. The team passes the school on Knott Avenue.

Members of the Garden Grove PD torch run team hold hands as they run along Chapman Boulevard during the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Five motor officers and four to five patrol officers will escort the runners to their destination.

The Garden Grove PD is among two dozen or so Orange County law enforcement agencies, and among more than 200 agencies throughout Southern California, that carries the torch during a portion of the nearly 1,500 miles through 200 Southern California communities.

On June 8, the torch makes its final stop at Cal State Long Beach for the Special Olympics Summer Games, June 9-10. More than 34,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities, including more than 1,100 Southern California athletes, will compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals and ribbons in a variety of sports.

The Garden Grove PD torch run team runs along Chapman Boulevard during the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting Special Olympic athletes.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Through the torch run and its annual Tip a Cop event, the GGPD raises around $5,000 each year for the Special Olympics, said Corporal Chuck Starnes, recruitment coordinator and background investigator.

“Working with the Special Olympics Foundation is great for the Garden Grove PD,” Starnes said. “This allows our officers, support personnel, and their families to help show the community that we care in supporting this organization.”

Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC