Atop the roof of Safeway Beretania, HPD officer Malcolm Lutu manned a donation can Thursday as part of a fund-raising promotion for Special Olympics.

70-hour law enforcement
stunt could reap $60,000

Sheriff's Department and HPD
agents seek alms from shoppers

Sgt. Ninette Vonier, of District One's Bicycle Detail, stood atop a 20-foot scaffold at Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center and shouted to shoppers to spare a dollar or two for the Special Olympics.

"Come on down and donate," yelled Vonier. "Every little bit counts."

Nine officials from the Honolulu Police and Sheriff's departments are spending 70 hours atop rooftop scaffolding at six Safeway stores on Oahu and Maui to raise $60,000 for the second Cop on Top fund-raiser.

Participants at Beretania, Waimalu, Kailua, Kaneohe, Hawaii Kai and Kihei started at 6 a.m. Thursday to raise $10,000 for the Special Olympics at each location.

Donations will be accepted today, the last day of the event, from 6 a.m. to midnight. As of yesterday afternoon, nearly $40,000 had been raised.

On Thursday a steady stream of shoppers at Kaneohe dropped a dollar or two in a silver paint can officers used to lower to donors.

"It's such a good cause," said Vonier, who came equipped with a stereo, DVD player, sunscreen, a small cooler filled with bottled water, and a sleeping bag.

Participants who spend their days off collecting money from donors are allowed five-minute bathroom breaks.

All Cop on Top participants are part of the Troy Barboza Torch Run group, which is comprised of more than 3,000 military, federal, state, county and private agencies who participate in various Special Olympics fund-raisers. The annual run was named after the Honolulu police officer who was gunned down by a drug dealer in October 1987.

"He was always willing to help anybody," said Vonier, who graduated with Barboza in the Police Department's 92nd Recruit Class.

In November 2000, police Lt. Kurt Kendro raised $10,552 after 63 hours in the first Cop on Top fund-raiser atop Consolidated's Waikiki 3 Theatre.

Noreen Conlin, director of public relations and foundation funding for Hawaii Special Olympics, said the local organization provides sports events for 1,600 athletes with mental retardation.

Police recently participated in the Tip a Cop fund-raiser at Victoria Ward Centers, in which officers waited on tables at restaurants and donated their tips to Special Olympics.

"They really go to great efforts to raise money for the Special Olympics," said Conlin.

Oahu residents interested in donating to the Special Olympics can call 943-8808, ext. 0. Neighbor island residents can call 800-531-1888, ext. 0.


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