Area police stakeout rooftops for Special Olympics

CHAMPAIGN — In an effort to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois, officers from the University of Illinois Police Department, Champaign Police Department and Illinois State Police maned the rooftop of Dunkin’ Donuts at 515 S. Neil St., Champaign, on Friday.

It’s part of a statewide effort — police officers in Illinois were scheduled to cover more than 190 Dunkin’ Donuts rooftops to raise awareness and collect donations for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

Each guest who visited a “Cop on a Rooftop” location and made a donation to the Torch Run received a coupon for a free doughnut. Other items, such as Torch Run mugs, hats and T-shirts were sold.

“Last year, we raised around $2,000 for Special Olympics at this event and would like to increase those numbers this year,” said U. of I. Police Officer Beth Visel. “It’s really a great and fun event.”

Statewide, the event has raised more than $2 million in its previous 12 years, and $430,000 last year alone.

The officers will know Friday afternoon how much they raised this year.

The Urbana Police Department also took part in the event. Those officers were at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 404 W. University Ave., Urbana, on Friday.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 21,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family support. The first Special Olympics games were held at Soldier Field in July, 1968; the program now is in more than 170 countries.