Cazenovia Police officers were swarming rooftops last week throughout Central New York communities — not searching for criminals, but raising awareness and money for New York Special Olympics athletes through the “Cops on Top” fundraiser. The annual event saw police officers standing on the roofs of participating Dunkin Donuts shops, getting the attention of local patrons, while volunteers on the ground collected donations and gave away free gifts.
In Cazenovia, police officers Rich Bennett, Tom Engelman, Mike DeGregorio and Krystyna Rottella were at the Dunkin Donuts at the Xtramart on Albany Street, where they raised nearly $1,500 in four hours.
“We’re killin’ it today,” said Bennett, as he and his fellow officers stood under a tent on the front sidewalk of the Xtramart. “The roof of this building does not allow us to stand up there, so we’re ‘on top’ of the sidewalk, which I think is better because we can actually talk to people.”
The officers, along with Cazenovia Dunkin Donuts Manager Tara Patak and local Special Olympics athlete Diane Budnar, gave away coupons for a free coffee or donut with any donation; an official “Cops on Top” T-shirt and a free coffee or donut with a donation of $20 or more; and a T-shirt, free pound of coffee and free donut or coffee with a donation of $50 or more.
There were 29 participating Dunkin locations from Binghamton to Oswego and Cazenovia to Auburn — locally that included Cazenovia, Manlius, DeWitt, Liverpool, Baldwinsville and North Syracuse — which was a large increase from the inaugural event three years ago in which only seven locations participated, Patak said. This was, in fact, the first time for Cazenovia’s Dunkin to participate.
“I love doing any type of fundraiser for the community,” Patak said. “But this one especially because Diane is a local athlete.”