Police perch for Special Olympics

Published 4:57 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

Officers with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Pelham Police Department plan to draw attention to the Special Olympics by drawing attention to themselves.

Around 7 a.m. April 24, three deputies from the sheriff’s office will go up on the roof of the Greystone Walmart. They won’t come down, except for bathroom breaks, until midnight on April 25 — more than 40 hours later. Food will be taken up to them while on the roof.

Volunteers will be below, on the ground, taking up money for the Special Olympics.

Shelby County Deputy Jerry Riggins said the rooftop sit-in is a common effort across the state, with numerous police departments joining in to raise money.

“The longer we stay up there, the more money we’ll be able to raise,” he said. “Everybody goes to Walmart on Saturday.”

The police officers won’t just be sitting on the roof, though. Rather, they’ll reward those who donate money by showing off their vocal chops and dance moves with a karaoke machine.

Officers are hoping to raise $5,000 at the Greystone location.

The event is all about finding a fun way to raise funds, Riggins said.

“Once you get to know these exceptional people (in the Special Olympics), you’re amazed at what they’re able to do and what they can accomplish, given that they have disabilities,” he said. “You want to be able to help them out as well as you can, and with times as they are now, everybody needs some financial assistance.”

Riggins, who was the Alabama representative at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, said that although the department has been involved with the Special Olympics for years, this is the first time they’ve done a rooftop sit-in.

Sgt. Mark Bishop, an event organizer, said the event is worth all the hard work and possible sunburn.

“I think it is a cause that, when you see the positive impact it has on the lives on the athletes, it makes it worth it,” he said.

The sheriff’s office is also selling T-shirts and Boston butts to raise money. To get more information on the fundraiser or to volunteer, go to copsontopshelbycounty.blogspot.com.