"The place was crowded."/>
"The place was crowded."/> ‘Tip a Cop’ fund raiser raises $6,500 | News, Sports, Jobs - SANIBEL-CAPTIVA - Island Reporter, Islander and Current
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‘Tip a Cop’ fund raiser raises $6,500

By Staff | Mar 17, 2010

The annual Tip A Cop event held in Fort Myers raised more than $6,500 to benefit local Special Olympics athletes.
The fund-raiser, held Sunday and Monday at Joe’s Crab Shack at 2024 W. First Street, featured local law enforcement officers as celebrity greeters and waiters. Sgt. Robert Wardrop, from the Cape Coral Police Department participated along with members of the Lee County Sheriff¹s Office, Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Port Authority Police.
“The event went pretty good,” he said of Monday’s shift.
“The place was crowded. It was packed,” Wardrop said. “People actually waited an hour just to sit down and participate with us.”
Lee County Port Authority Police Lt. Nancy Apperson, a coordinator for the fund-raiser, agreed. She said the wait was at least 25 minutes for lunch and dinner. The event raised nearly $5,750, with another $916 worth of Special Olympics T-shirts and hats sold during the fund-raiser.
“With the economy, we were really concerned we wouldn’t do as well,” Apperson said. “We actually broke last year’s figures by a couple hundred dollars.”
Apperson added that flyers about the event were handed out before the fund-raiser. When people brought the flyer with them, it was stapled to the final bill. Ten percent of those bills will be set aside by the corporate office of Joe’s Crab Shack as a check donation for Special Olympics.
“So we’re going to get an additional four to five hundred dollars,” she said.
According to Apperson, the funds raised will cover travel and uniform costs for the athletes who complete in the Special Olympics state games, which will be held in May in Orlando.
“I think we did pretty good,” Wardrop said. “It was a fun environment.”
He explained that officers danced to the music being played throughout the restaurant and chatted up the patrons. Officers greeted and seated people, and they assisted the servers by refilling drinks, cleaning off tables and fetching condiments and silverware when required.
“A lot of people believed in the cause,” Wardrop said of the customers. “A lot of people had ties to the Special Olympics.”
According to Apperson, event coordinators brought 600 envelopes for customers to use to leave a donation in for the Special Olympics if they wanted to give a little something extra. They had to reuse the envelopes because so many people wanted to leave a monetary donation.
“I know that we serviced well over 1,000 people,” she said. “We ran out of envelopes.”
Wardrop agreed that customers really showed their support.
“They were actually giving extra money on top of what they were there to give,” he said. “They were really giving above and beyond.”
According to Wardrop, usually five to seven members of the Cape Coral Police Department participate in the annual fund-raiser, but e-mail issues left the department hearing about the event’s dates at the last minute.
“They like to give back. They like to participate in positive functions,” he said of his co-workers. “A lot of people like to do all the events. They just like to be part of a good cause.”
Another good cause coming up is the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, scheduled for April 30. The event, which also benefits the Special Olympics, is an intra-state relay involving city, county, state and federal agencies from all 67 counties in Florida. Participation is restricted to law
enforcement and first responder agencies.
Wardrop and others from the CCPD plan to participate in the event. He said the Cape agency is usually represented by the same 15 to 20 volunteers, but they are hoping to sign up a few new faces this year.
“We’re hoping for more,” Wardrop said. “We’re hoping for 50.”
He plans to show a video about the run to members of the police department in the coming weeks to build interest and support for the fund-raiser.
“We have a lot of new guys who don¹t event know what this is, so this is a great way to educate them,” Wardrop said.
The group will sell Special Olympics T-shirts and hats to help raise money for the cause. The items are available starting today. Those interested in buying a shirt or hat can contact Wardrop by e-mail at
rwardrop@capecoral.net. The group will also collect donations for the Special Olympics.