Local police officers traded their handcuffs for aprons Saturday in Puyallup.
The Tip a Cop fundraising event supported local Special Olympic athletes and the costs associated with competing in events.
Police officers were in uniform, joining the Red Robin restaurant staff in serving food, busing tables and refilling drink orders for tips at the South Hill and Graham Red Robin locations. The tips went directly toward local athletes in Puyallup.
The Puyallup Police Department’s Special Olympics liaison, patrol officer Shaun Nestor, said that being a waiter is hard, but supporting Special Olympians makes it worthwhile. Nestor is one of eight PPD officers who donated their time Saturday.
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“Last year, we made just shy of $4,000,” Nestor said.
Donations collected Saturday raised $6,461.03 for the cause.
With some 14,000 Special Olympic athletes in Washington state, the organization works with those who have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability to get involved with athletic opportunities.
“As soon as you meet an athlete, it really changes your perspective on life,” Nestor said. “They don’t feel sorry for themselves, it really puts your own problems into perspective.”
For the off-duty officers who donate their time to the fundraiser, it allows the public to see the officers in a positive light.
“Police officers are seen as pillars in the community,” Nestor said. “This fundraiser allows people to focus on the positive side, and turn the negativity on its head. When we’re out fundraising money, we’re only dealing with the good.”