Want to give a cop a tip? Here's the down-low: Two "Tip a Cop" fundraisers for Special Olympics Santa Clarita and Tri-Valley programs are set for tonight and next Thursday at three Santa Clarita Valley restaurants.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies and detectives and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents will serve as celebrity waiters and donate all the tips they receive to Special Olympics. The public loves to have the officers wait on them hand and foot.
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"What the fundraisers pay for is our transportation, our uniforms and the equipment that we need," said Marisa Watkins, who works at each event, talking with people who attend and helping to collect the donations. The 18-year-old Stevenson Ranch resident, who has Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, holds 53 gold medals as a Special Olympics athlete in a variety of sports, and serves as the nonprofit organization's Global Ambassador.
Along with hustling tips from customers, the LASD and ATF cops will hawk Special Olympics tchotchkes to raise additional cash. "We sell wristbands for $1, t-shirts for $25 and little police car pins that blink," Watkins said.
Tip-A-Cop events are among the main fundraisers for the Law Enforcement Torch Run®, which in turn is one of the largest fundraising arms of Special Olympics Southern California. The 2012 Torch Run is slated for June.
"I'll be running 13 miles with the LAPD in the Torch Run," Watkins said.
All tips are tax-deductible and support Special Olympics sports training programs and competition for differently-abled children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The programs offer them the opportunity to participate in more than a dozen different sports — including aquatics, track and field, bocce, basketball, bowling, floor hockey, golf, gymnastics, softball, soccer, tennis and volleyball — at no cost. Volunteers step up as coaches and assistants, and cheerleaders/supporters are always welcome.
The estimated cost of putting each athlete through a year’s program is $500. Special Olympics Santa Clarita and Tri-Valley currently trains more than 950 extremely motivated athletes with intellectual disabilities who compete year-round in 12 different sports.
Here's the 411 on the upcoming Tip-A-Cop fundraisers:
Tip-A-Cop — LASD~PDC
Tuesday, April 24
4:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
26495 Golden Valley Road, Santa Clarita 91351
Tip-A-Cop — ATF
Thursday, May 3, 2012
5 p.m.-9 p.m.
27063 McBean Parkway, Valencia 91355