The run heralds the approach of this year’s Northern California Summer Games, which are being held Friday, June 28, to Sunday, June 30, at University of California, Davis.
Officers began around 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Tracy Police Department, 1000 Civic Center Drive, when they received the torch from correctional officers at Deuel Vocational Institution, who carried it from the prison east of Tracy.
Tracy officers Brian Wilmshurst and Miguel Contreras helped coordinate this year’s run.
“We do it every year,” Wilmshurst said. “Running the torch is a symbolic thing. It’s our own thing. We don’t do it for recognition; we do it for the kids.”
Running in pairs for a couple of miles each, 16 Tracy officers took to the road to carry the torch 26 miles across the Altamont Pass to the Livermore Police Department.
“I feel good about doing it,” Wilmshurst said. “I feel a sense of contribution to something that helps out a lot of kids — to be able to do something and they enjoy it.”
The Tracy Police Officers Association raised $3,000 this year for Special Olympics from various fundraisers, Wilmshurst said, including Tip-A-Cop at a local restaurant and a Polar Plunge at Lake Tahoe.
According to the Special Olympics Northern California website, $100 is enough to sponsor an athlete for one season of a sport, while a $2,000 donation can support a team for a year. Athletes — both children and adults — participate in Special Olympics free of charge.
The torch, carried by police agencies across the state, began in Tulare on June 14 and is expected to arrive at UC Davis on Friday.
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