MANKATO, Minn.-- The Special Olympics' Law Enforcement Torch Runs series kicked off on Monday. 

Local law enforcement run in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for Special Olympics Minnesota. Both law enforcement volunteers and athletes act as "Guardians of the Flame" for the event, carrying the "Flame of Hope" through their communities, which culminates at Summer Games.

Special Olympics Executive Council Member John Buetow said the event raises awareness and funds for Special Olympic athletes and their competitions.

"It funds a lot of the events," said Buetow.

" It's not only the games going on, it's everything going behind the scenes, it's physicians there that are doing examinations on the athletes, it just encompasses everything."

 Law enforcement personnel run through the area, handing off the torch as part of the Final Leg, a multi-day event in which law enforcement representatives relay the “Flame of Hope” more than 2,000 miles across Minnesota.

The torch will make its way up to the University of St. Thomas for the opening of the "Summer Games on June 22.

This is the second year that the series is taking place in Mankato.

--KEYC News 12