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Tip-A-Cop for Special Olympics

On May 20th, 21st and 22nd, San Luis Obispo County hosted three Tip-A-Cop Dinners in support of the Special Olympics San Luis Obispo County Region. The annual event, coordinated by Lt. Bill Proll of the San Luis Obispo Police Department, raised over $90,000 for the Special Olympics. This is the most money ever raised at San Luis Obispo Tip-A-Cop events. Employees from all local law enforcement agencies volunteered their time to serve 2400 dinners.

Tip-A-Cop events in SLO County aren’t the typical events where agencies partner with restaurants. Instead, the dinners are a huge undertaking as all food and beverages are donated by local grocers and distributors. The meals are then prepared by volunteer local service groups and served by agency staff. The $90,000 raised went directly to support the SLO County Special Olympics programming.

The Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and athletic competition in Olympic-type sports to over 750 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. SLO County Region currently offers 12 sports, divided into two sport seasons: Spring/Summer includes aquatics, athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, golf and gymnastics; Fall/Winter sports are bowling, floor hockey, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. SLO County Special Olympics also has approximately 90 volunteer coaches and additional event-related volunteers who help make the programs a true success.

One of the largest events the San Luis Obispo County Region completes annually is the Spring Regional Games. The event begins with Opening Ceremonies where over 400 athletes parade through Cuesta College Gymnasium receiving “high-fives” and special greetings from law enforcement personnel, after which the Flame of Hope is lit. This inspirational event is made possible through volunteer help and the generous donations received during the Tip-A-Cop dinners.

In addition to coordinating the Tip-A-Cop event, Lt. Proll assists with the coordinator of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) brings awareness to the Special Olympics programs and in some communities is used as a fundraiser.

Born in 1981 in Wichita, Kansas the LETR was adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police who are recognized as the founding organization of the LETR initiative, which has raised over $414 million since inception. The LETR has been an annual event in SLO County since 1988 and Lt. Proll has run the torch every year since its inception.  He also attends the International LETR Conference and is a member of the Southern California LETR Council which has commenced planning of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games Torch Run final leg. Taking place prior to the start of the World Summer Games, the torch will be run throughout California over 3 a week time period.

Lt. Proll has worked for the San Luis Obispo Police Department since 1984. He currently is a watch commander in the Patrol Division. He also teaches racquetball classes at Cal Poly State University and has competed in many racquetball events for the Police and Fire Games in California, Nevada and Arizona and the World Police and Fire Games.

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