What's that cop doing on the roof of Dunkin' Donuts?
Cops and doughnuts.
Sounds like the punch line to a joke, right?
But on Friday morning, police officers from across the suburbs and the state worked with a record-setting 315 Dunkin' Donuts shops to poke a doughnut-sized hole in that stereotype as part of a push to raise money to benefit Special Olympics Illinois and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Lots of money.
In Elmhurst, for example, officers participating in the 17th annual Cop on a Rooftop fundraiser spent the morning at Dunkin' Donuts at 936 N. York, with some waving to cars from atop the store and others at ground level collecting cash.
The scene was the same in towns from Elgin to Arlington Heights to Libertyville and beyond.
"It's a great cause," Elmhurst Sgt. Brendan Bruckner said.
Elmhurst officers raised $7,414.74 last year alone "and we are hoping to beat that number this year," Bruckner said. "We enjoy volunteering our time and giving back to our community -- and especially for this great cause."
Each Dunkin' guest who made a donation to support the Torch Run received a coupon for a free doughnut. Guests who donated at least $10 also received a travel mug and a coupon for a free medium hot coffee.
At many locations, the cops waving signs and collecting donations at ground level weren't alone. In Arlington Heights, for example, officers were joined by Special Olympics powerlifting champion Stephen Katz of Arlington Heights and his mom, Laurel Katz -- both of whom expressed their excitement and gratitude to be part of the program.
In Elmhurst, Detective Ken Lafin's daughter, Emma, was at Dunkin' along with Connor Nolan, who has been competing in swimming for Special Olympics for years. The pair are juniors at Downers Grove South High School and have been collecting money in Elmhurst since 2010.
"The cause is good for my teammates," Nolan said.
The cause is actually good for lots and lots of teammates -- more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 20,000 young athletes ages 2 through 7 with and without intellectual disabilities participate in Special Olympics Illinois programs.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest year-round fundraising vehicle to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.
Beginning June 2, roughly 3,000 officers representing every branch of law enforcement across the state will carry the Flame of Hope nearly 1,500 miles to its final destination -- the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games on June 7 in Normal.
The run has two goals: first to raise money and second to build awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois.
In 2018, the Illinois run raised $4.7 million and was one of the highest grossing Torch Run programs in the world. Nearly $51 million has been raised by law enforcement for Special Olympics Illinois since its inception in 1986.
Cops and doughnuts.
Not so much a punch line after all.