On Thursday, Sept. 12, during dinner hours (5-8 p.m.), law enforcement officers and local officials will take their oath to "serve and protect" to a new level, trading in their handcuffs and badges for menus and serving trays at the "Law and Orders" event taking place at various Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar locations throughout Western New York.
Law enforcement from the New York State Police Department, Erie County Sherriff's Department, Niagara County Sheriff's Department, Chautauqua County Sherriff's Department, Cheektowaga Police Department, Hamburg Police Department, University at Buffalo Police Department, Canisius College Police Department, Border Patrol, U.S. Air Force, Cuba Police Department among others, will join staff at the Applebee's restaurants to greet customers, bus tables, and serve guests. In return, officers hope to collect tips from diners to benefit Special Olympics New York and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
The Torch Run is a year-round, grassroots fundraising campaign by law enforcement agencies to benefit their local Special Olympics Program. Each year, officers carry the "Flame of Hope" through the streets of their hometowns and countries and deliver it to their local, state and national Special Olympics games. The Summer Games will be coming back to Buffalo for the third consecutive year from June 6-8, 2014.
Special Olympics is an international, year-round program of sports training and competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities. More than 61,000 athletes in New York train and compete in 22 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. Locally, thousands of athletes from the western region participate in training clubs and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and the community.
In 2012, "Law and Orders" night raised nearly $9,000 locally for the athletes of Special Olympics New York, and the LETR program raised more than $1.5 million statewide. Within the Law Enforcement Torch Run, more than $43 million was raised initiative-wide.