Ryan Miller’s favorite part about his job as an investigator for the River Falls Police Department is piecing together all of the details and bits of information from his cases like a giant jigsaw puzzle. “I like trying to find all the pieces of these ‘puzzles’ and putting them together to create a picture of what happened,” Miller said.
It’s this same ability to put complex puzzles together that has helped Miller successfully plan and organize the UW-River Falls Run With The Cops for the last three years. And as a large race event with lots of participants and moving parts, the event can be quite the puzzle. But thankfully, Miller is on the case. For the last half decade Miller has been a valued member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin. In that time he has demonstrated a deep commitment to the athletes of Special Olympics Wisconsin and a real knack for solving problems that you’d expect from a police investigator.
In fact, prior to helping initiate Run With The Cops, Miller had already helped start and organize the Torch Run in the River Falls area. Special Olympics Wisconsin staff approached him to see if he’d like to help start Run With The Cops after seeing his success in kick-starting the Torch Run. His steady leadership came in extra handy this year as a new director of special events for the region was joining Special Olympics Wisconsin staff in the midst of planning the event.
“Ryan Miller is a fantastic member of the LETR and we’re lucky to have him. He is a go-getter and he already had a lot of the logistics figured out when I came aboard,” Director of Special Events Karina Tomei said. “He and the rest of the committee did an awesome job at securing sponsorships, recruiting volunteers, strategizing and running the event. We have no doubt we are going to make this run an even bigger and better one in the years to come!”
“My favorite thing about Run With The Cops is seeing everyone come together and have some fun. The best though has to be seeing the faces of the athletes and kids that come to the event. They all look up to the officers and the joy on their faces when they get to run with a cop, challenge one of us to a doughnut-eating competition, or look at all the squad cars with us is priceless.” – Ryan Miller
In no small part thanks to Miller and his committee, the 2018 UW-River Falls Run With The Cops raised $7,684 and had 177 participants. For 2019, Miller and Tomei are looking to host 250 runners/walkers and raise $8,500 for Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes. Given the momentum it’s gaining as a real can’t-be-missed community event in River Falls, the ambitious goal just may be within sight.
“Every year, our event seems to get bigger and better. I would like everyone to know how much we appreciate their support for this event,” Miller said. “Not only does your support benefit the community through positive interactions with Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement, but your support also goes a long way in supporting our athletes who participate in Special Olympics with the costs that come along with hosting and participating in events.”
While Miller has used his analytical, puzzle-solving investigator mind to help organize an event that improves every year, it has also given him the opportunity to get creative and have some fun. Miller and his fellow LETR members in the River Falls area have joined the annual Run With The Cops tradition of producing (and starring in) some humorous videos to promote the event through social media.
But as much fun as making those videos may be, it pales in comparison to the fun of the actual event for Miller. “My favorite thing about Run With The Cops is seeing everyone come together and have some fun,” Miller said. “The best though has to be seeing the faces of the athletes and kids that come to the event. They all look up to the officers and the joy on their faces when they get to run with a cop, challenge one of us to a doughnut-eating competition, or look at all the squad cars with us is priceless.”
After all the hard work that Miller and his fellow LETR members put into planning the event, on Run With The Cops night Miller gets to finally see the puzzle come together.