If you're enjoying a nice dinner Thursday night at the and you suddenly realize you're surrounded by Fountain Valley cops, don't worry. Not only is the place not being robbed, but those cops are raising money for Special Olympics through the department's annual Tip-a-Cop event.
"It's important for us to give back to the community," Fountain Valley Police Capt. Mike Simko said. "I got taught early on from my grandma that you put others before yourself, and all of our cops have gotten into this business because they want to provide a service to the community. They feel a strong need to give back. While we give back on the enforcement end up things, protecting the community from the bad guys, it's important to get out and give to those who are a little bit disadvantaged."
As always, this year's event will feature members of the police department, who will visit diners at their tables accompanied by Special Olympics athletes to explain the program and how it benefits the athletes. Diners will also be invited to participate in auctions and raffles. Outside the restaurant, diners can take a moment to check out a police motorcycle, the department's new S.W.A.T. truck, and an antique fire engine.
Last year's event raised more than $17,000, the largest single-night gross in the nationwide history of the event. Simko said the department, which has always been in the top two in Tip-a-Cop donations among Southern California law enforcement agencies, takes great pride in being able to go above and beyond for such a worthy cause.
"There's always a sense of pride that goes with being No. 1. We're all competitive by nature, but the important thing is that we are giving back to the community, and we've chosen to give to Special Olympics and to those Special Olympic athletes. The nice thing about the program that we're involved in here in Orange County is that all the proceeds go back to Orange County athletes."