(PIKESVILLE, MD) – As part of a continuing commitment to support and gain a better understanding of people with intellectual disabilities, the Maryland State Police and Special Olympics Maryland are launching a program that provides the opportunity for lives to be enriched while spending time out on patrol.
“Champions On Patrol” is a program partnership between the Maryland State Police and Special Olympics Maryland that provides interested children and adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to spend time with members of the Maryland State Police in an effort to enrich the lives of both the athletes and police employees. The Maryland State Police Champions on Patrol program is an outreach effort aimed at promoting greater understanding for Department employees about children and adults with intellectual disabilities while offering an opportunity for those individuals to meet and spend time with state troopers and civilian employees.
“Providing an opportunity for our troopers to spend time with people with intellectual disabilities, many of whom are interested in police work, will enhance our understanding and deepen the ties between law enforcement and this vulnerable population,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown said. “Law enforcement in Maryland has a long and proud history of supporting the great work of Special Olympics and caring about the children and adults who participate in the year-round sports training and competition it provides. The Champions On Patrol program is a simple, but very powerful way for us to continue to serve this important group of
“Special Olympics Maryland is proud to partner with the Maryland State Police in the Champions On Patrol program,” Special Olympics President and CEO Jim Schmutz said. “At competitions, our athletes love being recognized as champions, in part because they are excited that medals and ribbons are presented to them by one of the thousands of Maryland police officers who faithfully support Special Olympics. It is hard to describe the amazing relationships formed between our athletes and the dedicated men and women from Maryland law enforcement and corrections who cheer them on at athletic competitions. In addition to this direct hands-on involvement with athletes, the law enforcement community works tirelessly across the state to raise money that supports year-round sports training and competition in 24 sports for 6,973 athletes.”
“Our athletes truly are champions, as are Maryland’s law enforcement and corrections officers,” Schmutz continued. “The Champions On Patrol program will only help to grow these relationships and make Maryland better by building inclusive communities of dignity and respect.”
The Champions On Patrol program will give an interested child or adult with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to tour a Maryland State Police barrack and go out on ‘patrol’ with a state trooper. Special Olympics Maryland has coordinators in each county. Any athlete or athlete parent/guardian interested in a visit and/or a ride-along, can contact their county coordinator. The coordinator will forward the request directly to the office of Lt. Colonel Jerry Jones, Commander of the Field Operations Bureau. The request will then be assigned to the barrack commander in the county from which the request was received and arrangements will be made for the visit.
A parent or guardian will be able to accompany the athlete on the barrack tour and even on patrol, if necessary, for the comfort and confidence of the athlete. Troopers will take precautions not to deliberately place the athlete in dangerous or unsettling situations.
The Maryland State Police is proud to help organize the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge and the Maryland State Police/Natural Resources Police Deep Creek Dunk each year in cooperation with allied law enforcement, business partners, and Special Olympics Maryland. The Maryland State Police is part of the Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run, a partnership of local, state, and federal law enforcement and corrections agencies whose officers work together throughout the year to organize events that raise money to support the programs of Special Olympics that are provided free-of-charge. For more information on Special Olympics Maryland or the Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run, visit www.somd.org.