El Paso Police Department
Community Outreach: Special Olympics
New Initiative: Volunteers In Patrol
The Law Enforcement Torch Run was started in 1981 by Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon. His idea was to involve local law enforcement personnel in the community, creating a bond between police and the citizens. Chief LaMunyon chose Special Olympics as his cause. The Torch Run was quickly adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The IACP is now recognized as the founding law enforcement organization for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Today the LETR is found in every U.S. state, 12 Canadian Provinces and 42 nations around the world. Our LETR Team is comprised of volunteers from El Paso Police, El Paso Sheriffs, El Paso Constables, Socorro ISD, TX DPS, and Customs and Border Protection. Participation is not only for the purpose of raising money, but also to raise awareness and bring inclusion into our daily lives with people of different abilities. Events such as the Athlete Picnic, Christmas Social, Santa for Special Families are meant to bring
On June 5, 2019, the El Paso Police Department began developing a Volunteers In Patrol Service Program under the leadership of City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. The VIPS program invites residents who would like to serve their community to become ambassadors by becoming knowledgeable on many common neighborhood concerns experienced by residents. Among those concerns are neighborhood watches, abandoned vehicles, code violations, graffiti, and code watch requests. On November 2, twelve citizens began training to serve as VIPS volunteers and graduated on November 16, 2021.
The creation of this new program also resulted in developing a new patch to represent the program. The new patch consists of the El
Paso Police Department shield in the center of the patch and three stars. Each star represents an important part of the program: the community, the citizen academy, and the neighborhood watch. There are also four classifications of our VIPS volunteers: basic, intermediate, advanced, and master VIPS volunteer. The classification designation is based on the amount of training and time of service.
happiness and inclusion to athletes and their families. Fall or Spring Games and competitions are to show the athletes and their families we support them. Another event was the COVID vaccine point where traffic control was done by our volunteers on a private parking lot while an out of town company came to
give athletes and their families COVID vaccine #1 and then later COVID vaccine #2. Many of the fundraisers are state and national fundraisers for Special Olympics. These include Cavenders Torch Sales, where over $35,000 was collected
state-wide; Coffee for Champions, where over $1,300 were collected in a few hours locally by volunteer officers; Tip A Cop raised over $3,500 locally; and the Fire Truck Pull raised over $4,300 locally. Some fundraisers were more of a local level, like the Hanks Floor Ball 5k fundraiser, which raised over $5,000 directly for the team going to the World Games. During the year, LETR and Special Olympics met with schools and signed them up as part of the Unified Champions Schools program. Officers, along with Special Olympics employees, distributed over 250 sports bags to schools from EPISD, Socorro ISD and Ysleta ISD for their promise to include Special Education students into the regular Physical Education program. These sports bags included soccer balls,
Volunteers are trained on the use of the police radio, how to recognize suspicious activity, how to report such issues in a timely manner, how to conduct a code watch, how to assist citizens with neighborhood watch and other quality of life concerns. The volunteers on their patrols focus on code watch requests, possible code violations, and assist answering basic questions from citizens. The goal is to continue to grow the program to eventually sustain VIPS Patrols most days of the week.
Let me win, but if I cannot win,
footballs, basketballs and other sports equipment. Another fundraiser completed by the LETR team not related to Special Olympics or LETR was the Pink Badge campaign, where over $14,000 was raised for the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation.
let me be brave in the attempt.
2021 Annual Report
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