Tip-a-Cop event to benefit Special Olympics

Police officers went to work in a Coon Rapids restaurant the evening of Aug. 15 – all for a good cause.

Members of the Coon Rapids and Lino Lakes police departments spent the evening of Aug. 15 at Famous Dave’s in Coon Rapids shadowing servers and collecting donations for Minnesota Special Olympics. Left to right: Lino Lakes Police Chief John Swenson, Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise, Coon Rapids Police Officer Brian Beedle, Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz, Lino Lakes Police Sgt. Wayne Wegener and Coon Rapids Police Sgt. Ben Bautch. Not pictured: Coon Rapids Police Officer Brady Madson.

Members of the Coon Rapids and Lino Lakes police departments spent the evening of Aug. 15 at Famous Dave’s in Coon Rapids shadowing servers and collecting donations for Minnesota Special Olympics. Left to right: Lino Lakes Police Chief John Swenson, Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise, Coon Rapids Police Officer Brian Beedle, Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz, Lino Lakes Police Sgt. Wayne Wegener and Coon Rapids Police Sgt. Ben Bautch. Not pictured: Coon Rapids Police Officer Brady Madson.

The Coon Rapids Famous Dave’s restaurant hosted the Tip-a-Cop event for the third year allowing Coon Rapids Police officers and two from the Lino Lakes Police Department to shadow employees serving customers from 5-7:30 p.m.

The purpose was to collect “tips” or donations from restaurant customers for the Minnesota Special Olympics.

But Tip-a-Cop was not designed to take away tips from the restaurant servers, rather to ask customers to donate to the Special Olympics in addition to leaving their usual tip for employees, according to Officer Brian Beedle, who is coordinator of the Coon Rapids Police officers’ projects to support Minnesota Special Olympics.

Throughout the two-plus hours, police officers greeted customers as they arrived at Famous Dave’s, then accompanied the servers as they took orders, served the food and drinks, then cleared the tables after the customers had left.

Joining Beedle at Famous Dave’s were Chief Brad Wise, Sgt. Ben Bautch and Officers Bryan Platz and Brady Madson from the Coon Rapids Police Department, plus Chief John Swenson and Sgt. Wayne Wegener from the Lino Lakes Police Department.

The Tip-a-Cop event raised $1,300 to support Minnesota Special Olympics, Beedle said.

Beedle, who has been with the department for 12 years, has done a good job in coordinating the department’s support of Special Olympics, according to Wise.

“We appreciate Brian’s leadership,” Wise said.

Anne Sims, general manager of Famous Dave’s, said the restaurant is pleased to support the police department’s efforts on behalf of Special Olympics.

“It is exciting to have them here shadowing the servers and helping where needed,” she said.

“It’s a fun evening and the kids love it.”

Famous Dave’s let customers know ahead of time about the Tip-a-Cop event by posting signs in the restaurant.

Tip-a-Cop is one of several activities in which the Coon Rapids police officers raises money for Minnesota Special Olympics each year.

Officers annually take part in the statewide law enforcement torch run which kicks off the Minnesota Special Olympic Games each summer.

In addition, Coon Rapids officers host a Polar Plunge event at Crooked Lake in early February, which draws teams from law enforcement and other organizations to collect pledges to benefit Minnesota Special Olympics.

According to Beedle, another event is in the planning stages for October.

That’s going to be called Cop-on-Top, in which officers will be on the roof of a Cub Foods store in two, 12-hour shifts collecting pledges for Minnesota Special Olympics.

According to its website, Special Olympics Minnesota trainings and competitions take place all year in locations across the state, offering 17 Olympic-style sports for all ages or skill levels.

“Through sports, our athletes celebrate their abilities, not their disabilities,” the website states.

“Their world opens with acceptance and understanding. They become confident and empowered by their accomplishments.

“They make new friends, joining the most inclusive community on the planet — a global community that’s growing every day.”

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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