Cops plan new twist for annual Special Olympics fundraiser

Published 1:47 pm Friday, April 22, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Pelham Police Department have teamed up to raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

They’ll do so April 29-30 with the annual “Cops of Top” fundraiser.

The event will be held in the parking lot of the Greystone Walmart on U.S. Highway 280.

“It’s an extremely worthy cause,” Pelham Officer Debbie Warner said. “The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympics.”

In past years, officers have raised money from the Walmart roof. This year they’ll set up shop in the parking lot, with two officers in one bucket truck lift for 48 hours to draw attention to the cause.

“We may rotate people out because it’s pretty fatiguing to stand up in the bucket,” Warner said with a laugh.

Warner and Shelby O’Connor, an investigator with the sheriff’s office, will be suspended in the bucket. Numerous other law enforcement officials will be down below in the parking lot.

“We’re basically there encouraging people, making noise, playing music, acting goofy and doing whatever we can to call attention to what’s going on,” Warner said.

Last year’s fundraiser was cut short due to weather but raised $5,500 in one night. The goal this year is $10,000, Warner said.

“We have people that give large donations, but the majority of it is the dollars and quarters that we get from people that just dig out of their pockets as they’re walking in and out of the store.”

Credit card donations are accepted through

Last year, the events raised $119,000 statewide and $32 million worldwide, Warner said. Donations made in Alabama go directly to Alabama’s Special Olympics athletes.