Local law enforcement supports athletes in Torch Run

The Hammond Police Department supported the Special Olympics by joining law enforcement across the state to participate in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. 
Zachary Araki and Jonathan Rhodes/ The Lion's Roar 

The Hammond Police Department joined other law enforcement agencies across Louisiana in the Law Enforcement Torch Run to kick off the 49th State Summer Games. 

Every year since 1981, law enforcement members across the country run to raise funds and awareness for the Special Olympics. The Flame of Hope was passed along from parish to parish until reaching its destination at the university. The opening ceremony for the 2017 State Summer Games was held at Strawberry Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The 1,000-mile Torch Run relay ran from May 12 to May 19. Five runners represented Hammond PD and finished the Final Leg of the Torch Run. Chase Zaffuto, a detective with the Hammond Police Department, described his experience with the run. 

“It was hot,” said Zaffuto. “It was a long day. I think it ended up being like 6.3, 6.4 miles we ran. Luckily, it did rain a little bit on us, so we got a little bit of a relief, but it was still very, very hot and very exhausting.” 




The 2017 Torch Run was Zaffuto’s second year participating. He shared his motivation for running. 

“I was asked to participate from the chief,” said Zaffuto. “I guess I’m one of the few guys that’s in shape and can make the run, but I think it’s for a good cause and a day off work.” 

Zaffuto described the importance of the Special Olympics. 

“I think that’s important just giving people a chance that normally wouldn’t have a chance to participate in something like that,” said Zaffuto. 

Zaffuto was unavailable to watch the games. He looks to the 2018 State Summer Games and Torch Run. 

“Hopefully, I’ll participate next year whenever it comes back,” said Zaffuto. “I really enjoyed it. Next year, I’m going to try to go to the games.”

The Torch Run ended at Strawberry Stadium for the opening ceremony. The Torch of Hope was passed along from parish to parish. 
 Zachary Araki and Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion’s Roar