Merriam Police Officer Travels to Germany for Special Olympics

Published on July 11, 2023

Jeremiah Waters is in full uniform and holding a Torch in his right hand. He's wearing a police hat and standing in front of the entrance to the Special Olympics World Games stadium.

Capt. Jeremiah Waters recently flew into Berlin, Germany, to represent the Merriam Police Department at the Special Olympics World Games.

While there, Waters carried the torch, called the Flame of Hope, that starts the opening ceremony games. He said the experience was life-changing.

“It’s hard to describe the honor and emotion that this event gave me,” Waters said. “I saw acceptance amongst hundreds of people for Special Olympics athletes. It was amazing to run with officers and Special Olympics athletes from around the world. It just made my mission of spreading the message of inclusion and working to help the athletes that much stronger.

Waters is a 19-year veteran of the Merriam Police Department. Water spends a lot of his free time volunteering for Special Olympics Kansas. For the past 16 years, he’s served as the metro regional coordinator for the Kansas Law Enforcement Torch Run executive council.

The Torch Run is the largest fundraising group for Special Olympics. It started in Wichita in 1981 and has raised almost $1 billion for Special Olympics worldwide. Closer to home, the Merriam Police Department is very involved in Special Olympics Kansas.

Merriam officers participate in many annual fundraising events: Cover the Cruiser at IKEA, Heroes Pull, Torch Run, and host a memorabilia auction. They also attend competitions and hand out medals to Special Olympics athletes.  

Waters said he brought back more than just a souvenir of the Special Olympics World Games. He is sharing acceptance.

“If we understand that everyone faces struggles in life at different times and in different ways, then maybe we can try to help each other out through those times and realize we’re all really the same,” Waters said.

Waters encourages anyone interested in Special Olympics to contact him.

“The joy I see on athletes’ faces, the volunteers, and those cheering them on is priceless,” Waters said. “More acceptance of everyone’s differences can be life-changing.”

Waters has served many roles throughout his tenure at the Merriam Police Department, including a special enforcement unit detective, DEA task force member, and serving on two investigation units in the Kansas City metro region. 

When he’s not working or volunteering, Waters likes spending time with his wife, Heather, and attending his three kids’ sports activities.