Tip Your Hat to Law Enforcement
By Brenda Stuart
Let us tip our hats to Colorado’s law enforcement officers. They’ve been carrying the torch for years, helping us raise money to keep our athletes swimming, running, playing basketball, etc. But my son’s favorite fundraiser continues to be Tip-a-Cop.
For years I thought my son, Jack, just liked going out to eat at Texas Roadhouse and Chili’s restaurants. He loves barbecue, and Texas and Denver rank as the best barbecue cities in the country! It took me a while to realize he was eager to partner with a Police Officer to wait on tables and raise money for Special Olympics Colorado.
Sure, my son and the other athletes who volunteer for Tip-a-Cop enjoy bringing the customers their bread and filling up their water glasses. More importantly, they enjoy touting the benefits of Special Olympics. I watched with amazement as they approached tables, envelope in hand, asking diners to support them as they compete. (My son also invited several patrons to come watch him at the state swim meet in Grand Junction!)
The camaraderie the athletes build with local law enforcement is essential. While most departments now offer training for their officers on how to interact with people with intellectual disabilities, the lesson doesn’t always sink in right away. Spending an evening together with a common goal strengthens their bond. All the athletes I spoke to are on a first-name basis with most of the police chiefs in the metro area.
Perhaps the best part of Tip-a-Cop is that the event gives the athletes a role in raising money for a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts, while working alongside their law enforcement friends. They approach customers with pride when they ask for donations to a worthy cause. In all my years of accompanying my son to this event, I’ve yet to see a diner turn him down.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. That must apply to the tippers at the Colorado Texas Roadhouse restaurants. Our athletes and law enforcement raised more than $38,000 dollars this year.
“Partnering with Special Olympics Colorado is an important part of the Castle Rock Police Department’s community outreach efforts and is consistent with our department’s vision of One-By-One Policing. Working with Special Olympics Colorado makes us better people and better police officers, which helps us thrive as individuals and as an organization.
Special Olympics athletes teach us about demonstrating empathy and compassion and how important it is to care for each other.”
– Jack Cauley | Chief of Police | Castle Rock Police Department
Brenda Stuart is a Denver journalist and frequent volunteer with Special Olympics Colorado. Her son’s favorite activities are swimming, basketball, and special events like Tip-a-Cop, the Plane Pull, and the Polar Plunge.