Joined by more than 300 law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes, Attorney General Pam Bondi helped mark the start of the 2016 Law Enforcement Torch Run today in the courtyard of the Florida Capitol.
About 8,000 law enforcement officers from across the state will take part in the 1,500-mile run that will wind through Florida over the next several weeks.
The torch will reach its home in Lake Buena Vista in time for the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics' Florida State Summer Games, which start May 20 at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports.
It's the 33rd year for the torch run.
"These children with intellectual disabilities are so inspired and they know that they can do anything, and this gives them hope," Bondi said. "It gives them courage, it gives them skills and it gives them confidence -- and that's why it's so important to us and our state."
The event has special meaning for Bondi, whose 11-year-old niece, Emma, has Down Syndrome. Bondi said Emma is too young to participate yet, but she hopes Emma will join her at the Olympics' opening ceremonies.
Bondi said more than 33,000 athletes, participating in 400 competitions annually, compete in Florida's Special Olympics.
Events for the torch run are planned in each of Florida's 67 counties. The full schedule is available here.