ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 18, 2012) -- Police officers from the Aberdeen Proving Ground Directorate of Emergency Services continued their support of the Special Olympics of Maryland Summer Games with their participation in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Relay, June 5.

Organized by Mike Farlow, Aberdeen Proving Ground Community Policing Officer, this year's efforts included sales of 2012 Torch Run T-shirts in addition to the 18-mile run from Havre de Grace to the Baltimore County line in Joppa.

The run started at North Park in Havre de Grace, where Mayor Wayne Dougherty, Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane, deputy T.J. French, and Capt. John Newman, from the Howard County Police Department, sent the runners off with words of encouragement.

"It's folks like you, with all your fundraising and enthusiasm, who make this possible," Dougherty told the runners, who included Harford County deputies, Maryland State Troopers and local police officers from Bel Air, Aberdeen, and Havre de Grace.

Newman said that the local efforts are part of a huge group of Maryland law enforcement that has raised more than $400 million for Special Olympics of Maryland.

"Without this program the world would be a lot different place for those kids," he said, adding encouragement for participants to attend the games which were held at Towson University, June 8-10.

Deputies on motorcycles escorted the runners down Route 40 to Aberdeen where the Directorate of Emergency Services group joined in for the second leg of the run to the Aberdeen City Hall where they were met by Mayor Michael Bennett and police chief Henry Trabert.

Bennett praised the runners for their devotion to a "worldwide cause."

"Every year they get out here like law enforcement agencies worldwide," Bennett said. "They really make a difference. It's good for people to see this side of law enforcement."

The runners agreed.

"I just started running to get back in shape and thought this would be a good way to do that and support the Special Olympics," said Directorate of Emergency Services traffic investigator Andreas Sexton.

It was the fifth Torch Run for Officer Tony Malveaux, a running enthusiast who also runs half marathons for Leukemia, Lymphoma and Diabetes.

"I come out for the camaraderie," he said. "We're getting fit while making a difference."

Nicole Hall, Directorate of Emergency Services patrol services, assisted Farlow in organizing the event. This was her fourth year, she said.

"It's a great cause because it does so much for so many," she said. "It's not about competition, it's about showing support."

Best friends and avid runners deputy Beth Zinger and public safety supervisor Jennifer Webster said they participate because it makes them feel good.

"We're all about working with people and this is something positive and worthwhile to do with those we work with," Webster said.

According to the Special Olympics of Maryland website, the Law Enforcement Torch Run Relay is an important part of the year-round efforts all across the state. It is through the relay that law enforcement and correctional officers escort the "Flame of Hope" through towns and communities statewide to raise awareness for the SOMD and the Summer Games.