GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) — About a dozen people in Garner laced up their sneakers to raise money for the Special Olympics on Thursday morning.

The Garner Police Department hosted their annual torch run, inviting people to run alongside officers to raise money.

Matt Davis is a business owner in the town who laced up his sneakers to support the police department, but also to support the Special Olympics, a group he says is important to him.

“To have an outlet for folks that have disabilities to participate in events that they can thrive in, compete in, and have fun, it’s just a nature of sport, you get out there and have a good time,” Davis said.

The course took runners just over two miles throughout Garner. It was organized by police who say it’s a special for two reasons, the first being money raised for the Special Olympics, and the second being an opportunity for police to send a message.

“It’s always been the Garner Police Department’s mission to let people in our community know that they are welcome, no matter [who] they are, what they look like, or what disabilities they might have, that we want them to feel included, and to know that they are just as valuable as anybody else,” Lt. Kevan Anderson with the department said.

Police say events like this are also a great opportunity for them to meet people who live in Garner and build relationships.