Put local cops ‘behind bars’ for a good cause

Jordan Jones

Jordan Jones

Remember those parking tickets or that time you got caught speeding around Brookings? Local law enforcement will raise money for Special Olympics on Dec. 6 by allowing people to pay to hold them behind bars.

Police officers from the University Police Department, Brookings Police Department and Highway Patrol will volunteer to stay in a cage, similar to a dog kennel, starting at 9 a.m. at Wal-Mart. The more money donated during the second annual Lock Up a Cop, the longer the cops stay.

“The cost comes out to be about one dollar a minute,” said Joel Perry, a BPD officer who is setting up the fundraiser.

Lock Up a Cop will last as long as people are willing to pay to keep the cops caged, and people who donate can choose the cop that they wish to keep in the cell, Perry said. Last year, cops stayed locked up for about 12 hours.

The cell will be located in front of the greeting cards near the jewelry section. Perry said people who stop in to see the cops and donate may be eligible for prizes or giveaways. They could also meet some of the Special Olympians that have benefited from the fundraiser.

Perry said the best part about doing this event “? is seeing the faces of those (Special Olympians) who are able to compete” because of the donations.

“The event is really lighthearted,” said Donita Fleming, community involvement coordinator at Wal-Mart. “It’s a really good cause and a lot of fun.”

Fleming said the officers like to play around during the event. Last year, she thought that it would be fun to bring the cops doughnuts.

Perry jokingly said that the worst part of last year’s event was having to eat all the doughnuts.

UPD police officer Cora Olson said that there was no bad part last year.

All of the money raised during the Lock Up a Cop event will go to Special Olympics. This and other fundraisers help supply transportation and lodging for Special Olympians. Last year, South Dakota was able to send a competitor to China to compete in the International Special Olympics.

This year’s goal is to donate as much or more than last year. The first Lock Up a Cop brought in a total of $3,500 in donations.

People who wish to donate can visit Wal-Mart on Dec. 6 before the police get out, or they can also choose to donate online. The Web site to keep Perry locked up is at www.firstgiving.com/joelperry/, while the Web site for UPD officer Olson is www.firstgiving.com/coraolson/.

Other officers participating in the event include Mike Burgard and Jesse Ehlers. If people wish to donate to someone other than these officers, they can leave a memo on the donation site specifying which officer they would like to lock up.

The BPD also helps with a charity run for Special Olympics. The run is part of the largest fundraising effort in the United States. Officers start on the top of Mount Rushmore and move from Rapid City to Sioux Falls. The state of South Dakota donated $220,000. Nationwide, the total came to $33 million.