MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- For as long as Sgt. Charles Whitaker with the Macon Police Department can remember the Special Olympics torch run has been a tradition for MPD officers and SWAT members.
"This is my fifth time doing this and it makes me feel good inside to be able to do a little bit," said Sgt. Whitaker.
MPD SWAT team members started the run Tuesday morning at the end of Broadway near Highway 247. They ran about 5 miles to Macon City Hall where they passed the torch off to officers and civilians running to Wesleyan College on Forsyth Road.
"It's part of a tradition with the SWAT team and it's for a great cause so it's just something good to do," said Lt. David Freeland.
This year's run was extra special for the department.
Lt. Freeland said, "This is our new bear cat. We just got it last year so it's the first time it's actually followed us."
The new armored vehicle that can stop bullets, ram down doors, and be used during hostage situations was named after someone near and dear to the department. The SWAT car that ran with the team was named after Lt. Mark Cotton, the 27 year Macon police veteran who died earlier this year from heart complications.
"His name is 'Mark I,' so technically he was with us today pushing us along the way," said Lt. Freeland.
It was an extra push from the new 'Mark I' for Special Olympic athletes everywhere.