The "cops like doughnuts" cliché climbed to fresh heights Friday as police officers from across the area scaled Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and waved from rooftops, enticing customers to make donations to Special Olympics Illinois.
DuPage County sheriff's deputies spent a nine-hour shift atop Dunkin' Donuts at 811 E. Ogden Ave. in Naperville, sometimes sharing space with Skates, the Chicago Wolves' mascot, and sometimes jamming to tunes pumped out by country music station U.S. 99.5-FM.
"It's warm up there," Cpl. Mike Urso said midway through a sunny Friday morning, with emphasis on the "warm" part.
A team of 10 sheriff's personnel gave their own time Friday to raise money at the doughnut shop. What it was all about, Sgt. Randy Groh said, was "giving back to the special needs community."
Money gathered at 174 Illinois locations during the 12th annual Cop on a Rooftop event will go to the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which itself is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Illinois -- the "largest fundraiser for Special Olympics," Groh said.
Towns such as Buffalo Grove, Carol Stream, Carpentersville, Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Lake in the Hills, Libertyville, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Wauconda and Wheaton hosted their own crews of cops as all Illinois locations worked to bring in $310,000 to top last year's total.
Groh and Urso said they have attended the conclusion of the Torch Run at Illinois State University, where the 1,500-mile relay involving roughly 3,000 law enforcement employees hands off a Flame of Hope to signal the beginning of the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games.
Urso said the Torch Run's conclusion is a celebration of Special Olympians, moving enough to drive him to continue supporting the cause.
"They greeted us just like we were Olympians and then we greeted the Special Olympians," Urso said about the families of athletes gathered for last year's games.
In Naperville, drive-through customers such as Arthur Gage Sr. of Woodridge made donations in exchange for free doughnut coupons. Others on Ogden honked and waved.
By the middle of their shift, deputies had received a $100 bill as well as handfuls of smaller bills and change. They were aiming to raise more than last year's total of roughly $2,500.
Smita Khapekar, manager of the Dunkin' Donuts, said the shop looks forward to "Cop on a Rooftop" day all year. On Friday, 11 workers instead of the usual eight served coffee, bagels and doughnuts, including a special glazed one frosted in Special Olympics Illinois colors called "The Champion."
Khapekar said Naperville Mayor George Pradel even stopped by to thank her employees and hand out orders at the drive-through.
"It was very fun," she said. "The (drive-through) line went all the way to Ogden."