CRESTVIEW — Law enforcement officials from multiple agencies participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Florida on Wednesday.

Members from the Crestview Police Department and Okaloosa County Sherriff’s Office, along with a few other agencies, joined in on the run through Crestview.

The Florida Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest annual fundraising event for Special Olympics Florida, according to the Special Olympics Florida website.

“The run started in 1984 in Florida, so this is our 36th running,” said Laura Collins, director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Collins credits former Wichita, Kansas Police Chief, Richard LaMunyon for starting the event.

“He (LaMunyon) saw the need for support of Special Olympics locally and he wanted his officers to get involved in the community and not be seen just as law enforcement, but as members of the community who give back,” Collins said. “He conceived of this torch run and they ran a torch into the opening ceremonies of the summer games in Wichita.”

“It got endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and then it started spreading around,” she added. “Special Olympics endorsed and trademarked it and it became official and it just grew from there.”

The event kicked off in Escambia County on Tuesday and is working its way through the state. According to Special Olympics Flordia's website, the "Flame of Hope" will be carried through every county before ending up at the Opening Ceremony of Florida’s annual State Summer Games.

“We run in all 67 counties and everybody arranges a run in their county that makes sense in their community,” Collins said. “We pass the torch symbolically from county to county; it’s not one long run."

The north leg of the Okaloosa County torch run was 1.5 miles long. The run began at Publix on North Ferdon Blvd and ended at the Crestview Police Department. Runners traveled down Industrial Drive before turning on Stillwell Blvd to head toward the finish.

Collins said that the help of law enforcement has allowed the Special Olympics to raise funds to help with the cost of the things such as year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“The most important thing about it is that they have over the years raised so much money and so much awareness that has propelled Special Olympics forward in a way that wouldn’t have been possible,” said Collins. “The more awareness you have of your cause, the more money that you can raise and they have done that in a stellar manner.”