Carroll law enforcement take over Dunkin' for annual Cops on Rooftops event benefiting Special Olympics

Leaders of the Westminster Police Department, Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police and Carroll County State's Attorney's Office camp out on the roof of the Dunkin' Donuts in Westminster Saturday and Sunday to raise money for Special Olympics Maryland.

From the street, a flashing light bar — like those mounted on police cars — shone on top of the roof of the Westminster Dunkin’ Donuts.

Upon closer inspection, four people could be made out standing on top of that roof, some on makeshift scaffolding, others underneath the tent set up in case of rain.


For the ninth year in a row, local law enforcement took to the coffee and doughnut shop’s roof at 576 Jermor Lane for 30 hours for the annual Cops on Rooftops to raise money for the athletes of Special Olympics Maryland. The group headed up at 6 a.m. Saturday and will remain there until noon Sunday.

Last year, the goal was to raise $10,000 — this year, it’s to raise $12,000, Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding said. In total, the event raised $14,700 last year, he said, and in the eight previous year, Carroll law enforcement agencies have raised $73,500.


Saturday’s skies threatened possible storms, but Spaulding said he and the others on the roof — Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees, Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo and Lt. Rebecca Bosley, the commander of the Maryland State Police Westminster Barrack — were in it for the long haul.

“We’ve been here in 95 degree weather and we’ve been here in an October nor’easter,” Spaulding said, adding that they would persevere no matter what.

Spaulding said the Cops on Rooftops isn’t the only event law enforcement participates in to raise money for the organization — there’s also events like the Torch Run and the Polar Bear Plunge. That said, this may be one of the more unorthodox events.

And despite the fact the event results in a long two days and little sleep, Spaulding said it’s all worth it.

“I’ve seen how important the work of Special Olympics is,” he added.

Periodically throughout the day, they’d pull the donation bucket from the ground headquarters up onto the roof to count the money. By 10:30 a.m., the event had raised $2,733.

Over the 30-hour period, DeLeonardo said there’s a lot of joking and busting chops among the four.

But there’s also a lot of professional conversations about partnerships among agencies.

“We do actually talk work,” he added.

For DeLeonardo, this was his fifth year on the roof for 30 hours. He said it always amazes him “how generous people in this community are.” During the 10:30 a.m. donation count, the bucket was a mix of change and small bills, though 20s, 50s and 100s also littered the pile.

Set up on the roof were two sets of scaffolding, a number of bag chairs and a pile of blankets. Sleeping bags also sat on the roof, waiting for what little sleep the crew would get.

Spaulding said he never manages to get much sleep, but joked somehow, DeLeonardo always was able to. The state’s attorney has proven he can sleep almost anywhere, Spaulding quipped.


The group also always manages to stay well-fed, with local businesses like Martin’s Westminster and Outlaw BBQ Smokehouse providing food.

“We never go hungry,” DeLeonardo said.

For DeWees, this year was his sixth spending the night on the roof.

And while he acknowledged the fundraiser is different than most others, it’s one they always enjoy.

“We really do look forward to it each year,” DeWees said.

And while the three others had experience with the event in the past, for Bosley, this year was her inaugural time participating.

It’s a long event, she said, but as members of law enforcement, they’re used to working all night in unusual places, she said.

Bosley said anything they can do to support Special Olympics Maryland was worth it.

“I’d be foolish not to participate,” she added.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun