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Lt. John Hohmann (left) lights the torch for Shannon Murphy (right) during the... ( SCS )
SCOTTS VALLEY -- Seven volunteers from the Scotts Valley Police Department took off running Wednesday afternoon, bearing what they call the "torch of hope" for the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Special Olympics fundraiser has raised more than $50,000 for the program in Northern California this year.

With officer Michael Birley, 44, carrying the torch, the runners, including Chief John Weiss, took the last leg of the day's relay -- a seven-mile stint from the Santa Cruz Hilton in Scotts Valley to the Glenwood Fire Station.

The torch started in Watsonville on Wednesday morning. Police officers from Watsonville, Capitola, Santa Cruz and UC Santa Cruz joined officers from the CHP, California State Parks, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's office to deliver the flame to the Scotts Valley team.

The relay began June 14 in Tulare County and, after being carried by more than 500 law enforcement personnel, will finish at the University of California Davis on June 28. The arrival of the torch will mark the official start of the 2013 Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games. The games will take place June 28-30, with more than 700 athletes competing in aquatics, bocce, tennis and track and field.

The torch run is the largest single fundraising effort for Special Olympics Northern California, which serves more than 14,000 adults and children with developmental disabilities throughout the year. Law enforcement personnel give a $25 donation to run in the event and can collect additional donations.