Police go to great heights for Special Olympics

September 1, 2011

Pictured (L-R): Officer Tom Bergling of Hyattsville Police Dept, Officer Eddie Murphy of Mt. Rainier Police Dept., Officer James Denault, of City of Hyattsville Police Dept. and Mayor Walter James, Town of Bladensburg, and Chief Doug Holland of Hyattsville City Police Dept. take part in the Cops on Rooftops fundraiser for the Special Olympics at the Dunkin' Donuts owned by Ray Omar at 3030 Queens Chapel Rd. Chillum, MD.

BY BART LAWRENCE – Chief Douglas Holland of the Hyattsville Police Department (HPD) seems like an honest guy. So we have to believe him when he says, referring to the glazed pastry in his hand, “I think this is my first doughnut in five years.”

Holland was outside a local Dunkin’ Donuts, but he wasn’t seeking snacks.

Chief Doug Holland of HCPD and Ray Omar, owner of the Queens Chapel Dunkin' Donuts pause for a photo opportunity at the Cops on Rooftops fundraiser for the Special Olympics at the Dunkin' Donuts owned by Ray Omar at 3030 Queens Chapel Rd. Chillum, MD.

Hyattsville Police Chief Doug Holland and Ray Omar, owner of the Queens Chapel Dunkin’ Donuts, teamed up for the Cops on Rooftops fundraiser for Special Olympics on August 20-21. Photos courtesy William Jenne.

He was leading a 30-hour occupation of the restaurant as part of Cops on Rooftops, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD).

Held at (and on) the Dunkin’ Donuts at 3030 Queens Chapel Road, the event was one of eight throughout Maryland on August 20 and 21. Approximately 25 police, between 10 and 15 of them HPD officers, spent the event manning the drive through window or perched on the rooftop, even playing Wii in the early morning hours.

With the support of officers from nearby departments —including Bladensburg, Mount Rainier, and Riverdale Park, as well as Prince George’s County — the Hyattsville-area location raised $5,381.40 for SOMD, largely made up of donations from store patrons, residents, and police officers. Officers also sold Law Enforcement Torch Run T-shirts and raffled off Giant Food gift certificates, a mountain bike, an iPod, and a Harley Davidson.

Dunkin' Donuts employee Mark Simon of Queens Chapel volunteers at the Cops on Rooftops fundraiser for the Special Olympics at the Dunkin' Donuts owned by Ray Omar at 3030 Queens Chapel Rd. Chillum.  Photo courtesy William Jenne.

Dunkin’ Donuts employee Mark Simon volunteers at the fundraiser, held at 3030 Queens Chapel Road in Chillum.

The money raised will support the more than 10,000 SOMD athletes in training and competition.

Patricia Miles, the county’s Special Olympics director, noted that “events such as these help teach people about the [all-volunteer organization] and the support we need.”

When approached by HPD, restaurant owner Ray Omar was eager to get involved.

“He opened his arms to us with his full support and a $500 donation,” said Holland.

Cops on Rooftops isn’t the only area Special Olympics fundraiser. On October 9, Hyattsville’s Arrow Bicycle and Route 1 Velo will hold the third annual Hyattsville Cyclocross Race at Magruder Park. Having raised $8,500 over the past two years, this event has become the largest single contributor to the Prince George’s County Special Olympics. Registration is now open at bikereg.com.

This year, even non-cyclists can get in the game; buy a commemorative Hyattsville CX pint glass for $6 and get a free beer on race day. With doughnuts and beer, the Special Olympics seems to have the tastiest — if not healthiest — fundraisers in town.

Officer Jimmy Denault of HPD’s Community Action Team organized the Hyattsville-area Cops on Rooftops event. He took a few moments away from the rooftop to answer some important questions.

Q: What’s the best part of these fundraisers?

A: “The money and support for Special Olympics, and the smiles on the athletes’ faces.”

Q: Are you afraid of heights?

A: “No. Roller coasters, yes.”

Q: How many doughnuts can you eat in one sitting?

A: “Five. Easily.”

Q: Given the choice between a 1 percent drop in the annual property crimes rate or a year’s worth of free crullers, which would you choose?

A: “The drop in crime rate.”

Q: Are you a doughnut man or a doughnut-hole man?

A: “Doughnut man.”