The aroma of coffee and the chatter of patrons filled the Dunkin' Donuts shop along Md. 140 in Westminster. Customers clutching doughnut boxes walked to their cars in the parking lot.
Pretty standard for 11 a.m. on a Friday.
But the back of the employees' navy blue T-shirts indicated that today and Sunday would be different. "Ask about the cops on our rooftop," the T-shirts beckoned.
That's because today, three police officers will make Dunkin' Donuts' flat rooftop their home from 6 a.m. today to noon Sunday.
Westminster City Police Chief Jeff Spaulding and Capt. Jim DeWees and Lt. Rob Stryjewski, of Maryland State Police, will brave the elements as they lower buckets on rope from the store's rooftop to collect contributions for a cause - the Special Olympics.
In the 1980s, law enforcement adopted the Special Olympics as its charity of choice, raising millions of dollars internationally. Maryland's branch of the law enforcement torch run program - which raises the funds - heads the pack, as it netted the most money for the Special Olympics for at least five years, according to Spaulding.
Local events throughout the year - such as the Deep Creek Dunk, Torch Run Relay and Polar Bear Plunge - helped state law enforcement officers raise about $3.2 million last year.
Cops on Rooftops is one of them, and seven locations around the state will try to garner a goal of $50,000 this weekend.
It's an attempt to top last year, when the event in six spots received more than $31,000 in total donations.
So, the three officers will ascend to the rooftop before sunrise this morning.
They'll be armed with supplies: space heaters, a tent, laptops, a police radio, and loads and loads of coffee.
"It's like we just imported our offices up on top of Dunkin' Donuts," DeWees said. "[We're] still trying to do business on top of the Dunkin' Donuts while we're raising money."
When they're not having shouting conversations with customers down below or watching people play during the family-friendly event from noon to 3 p.m. - complete with a moon bounce, canine demo, Harley motorcycle auction - they'll keep each other company through the 30-hour stretch.
"We tend to stay busy chatting just about family, sports and work and those sorts of things," Spaulding said. "We're all law enforcement professionals, so there's always plenty to talk about."
"Hopefully we won't have any roommate squabbles," DeWees joked.
The three might take quick catnaps on a rotating basis, but most of the time they'll be awake and attempting to get donations at the Dunkin' Donuts location, which is open 24/7.
"It's certainly a worthy cause," Stryjewski said. "When we do the Torch Run, we have a Special Olympian with us, and it makes you realize how lucky you are that your family's OK, but then, you look at them, and you want to give them every opportunity that your children had."