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LPD Officers Run for Special Olympics Awareness

LAWTON Okla_ If you were driving through Lawton Monday, you may have noticed several Lawton police officers on the move, running alongside streets in honor of the Special Olympics.

Each year, thousands of police officers across the country run for miles during the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics. Oklahoma's Special Olympic Games kick off Wednesday in Stillwater. So, officers here, along with a few others, ran for nearly 30 miles to show their support and to help raise awareness.

Drivers and children not only honked, held up signs, and helped cheer officers on, they also thanked them for what they were doing and all that they do. This is the first time in over a decade Lawton officers have organized their department's run and say next year they hope it will grow in size.

"They were like, ‘You guys can do it! Keep up the good job!' High five-ing us and telling us telling us, ‘Thank you,'" LPD Officer Tanya Criger said.

She said there's no doubt a run totaling over two dozen miles is no easy feat, but she said achy muscles and sore feet are something officers will gladly work through.

"The struggles that they face everyday, for us to run this little bit to show them our support, it's a little bit of discomfort for us," Criger said, "But to see their smiles on their faces, the high fives and the hugs, it's all worth it."

Lawton Police Chief James Smith said he didn't hesitate to lace up his shoes and hit the pavement. He's an avid runner but said this run was like none other.

"We received a lot of tremendous support from the community," Smith said. "People were stopping and saying, ‘Keep up the good work, congratulations, keep on running,' and it just makes you proud for the show of support. It let me know this is an awesome, awesome, community."

Criger said while they were happy to complete the run, their ultimate goal will be to see these kids finish their own.

"We all do the job because we love it," Criger said. "We love to give back to the community, and these kids appreciate everything we do. They don't get an opportunity to do a lot of things, so when we can give them the opportunity to participate in the game and be a part of something bigger than we are, it makes it all worth it."

Money raised from events like the run, Tip-A-Cop, and Polar Plunge will all help send kids to the games. For every $200 they raise, officers can send one athlete who can participate in however many events they want.

 

 

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