BY HELEN PARSHALL — This weekend the Hyattsville Police Department could be found perched high atop the Queens Chapel Dunkin’ Donuts, as they rotated shifts for the annual “Cops on Rooftops” fundraiser benefitting the Special Olympics of Maryland.
Not even the threat of rain on Saturday — or the wind and chill on Sunday — could dampen their spirits as officers danced to the music playing outside the store.
“I asked them if they wanted to postpone, and they said ‘we’ll be here,’” said Ray Omar, owner of the Queens Chapel Dunkin’ Donuts.
A truck from the nearby Riverdale Fire Department arrived with tents to set up on the roof to provide some cover as clouds gathered over the store on Saturday morning.
“If it gets too bad, we’ll just be back tomorrow,” said Sgt. Suzie Johnson, the officer coordinating this year’s event.
The Hyattsville fundraiser is one of eight or nine sites of “Cops on Rooftops” throughout Maryland, and a familiar sight in Hyattsville over the last several years.
“It’s a great event that gets the community involved and brings different people together,” said Doug Holland, Hyattsville police chief and chairman of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, another event benefiting the Special Olympics of Maryland.
Desiree Holland, a Hyattsville resident and Chief Holland’s daughter, was out with Sgt. Johnson to chat with drivers about the fundraiser as cars pulled into the drive-thru. She wore two medals displayed prominently around her neck.
“Desi’s an athlete with the Special Olympics,” said Chief Holland. “She’s been competing in cycling and swimming at all levels since she was 8 years old.”
Desiree Holland’s medals were earned in the 5k cycling event: a silver at the 2006 international games in Shanghai, China, and a gold at the 2014 USA games.
Sgt. Johnson said the Hyattsville Police Department hopes to beat their totals from last year’s fundraiser, when they brought in over $8,000 dollars for the Special Olympics of Maryland.
“I set the goal at $15,000 this year,” said Johnson. “Nothing wrong with aiming high.”