Police officers from Montclair, Verona, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield and West Orange took to the streets on Friday, June 9, for Leg No. 18 in the 34th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey.

Leg 18 participants, Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey

The annual Law Enforcement Torch Run event helps support the athletes of Special Olympics New Jersey. The “Flame of Hope” torch is carried more than 750 miles throughout the state by some 3,000 officers representing their local communities.

“The Montclair Police Department has been participating in the Torch Run since the early 90s,” said Police Chief Todd Conforti. “This is a great cause that helps people discover their strengths and skills to achieve success. The Department is proud to help raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics, whose athletes inspire us all.”

The statewide relay began 4:45 a.m. on Friday. Torch Run Relay Leg No. 18 started at 8:30 a.m. with a staging ceremony at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange. Participants ran down Pleasant Valley Way to Bloomfield Avenue, through Verona, Montclair, Glen Ridge, and Bloomfield, ending their leg at the Bloomfield PBA Hall on Watsessing Avenue.

The 26-leg journey brings the Special Olympics New Jersey “Flame of Hope” torch to The College of New Jersey in Ewing, where it lights the cauldron in the evening to officially open the Special Olympics New Jersey 2017 Summer Games — an event that features more than 2,500 athletes.

The goal of the annual Torch Run is to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey as the torch makes its way through more than 300 communities throughout the state. Participating Law Enforcement officers have been raising funds for months leading up to the event.

For more information on the New Jersey Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics visit www.njtorchrun.org.

Photo: Police Deputy Chief Wilhelm Young