DeKALB – Police officers weren't standing on the Dunkin' Donuts roof Friday investigating a crime.
They weren't taking a doughnut break, either.
Rather, volunteers and police officers from Northern Illinois University, the city of DeKalb, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office stood on the roof of the store at Annie Glidden Road and Lincoln Highway to raise money for Special Olympics. They collected money from patrons in two-hour shifts from 5 a.m. until 2 p.m.
"We're here today to help out the children with Special Olympics," DeKalb police officer Phillip Brown said. "I met some of the children at a conference, and they touched my heart. I wanted to help."
Dubbed Cop on the Rooftop, the fundraiser was held at 175 Dunkin' Donuts locations throughout Illinois to help raise funds for Special Olympics Illinois. They also spread awareness for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Special Olympics' largest fundraiser, which is June 11. The relay will begin at 3 p.m. at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.
On Friday, customers received a free doughnut with any size donation. Items such as raffle tickets, T-shirts and hats were given away for larger donations.
Illinois started the Cop on a Rooftop event 12 years ago, and other states followed suit. The DeKalb Dunkin' Donuts was built in August. In past years, the event was held in Sycamore.
Miguel Bautista, the general manager of the DeKalb Dunkin' Donuts, said hosting the fundraiser attracted customers.
"They're definitely getting the attention of people and bringing them into the store," Bautista said. "It's a positive thing; it's attracting people because they're curious."
NIU education majors Kate Brown and Dezirae Ninow attended the event to make donations.
"I am co-president of Best Buddies, an organization on campus that works with individuals with disabilities," Ninow said. "Through the group, I've become their mentor and friend."
Aurora Macias-Contreras from Creston was driving and stopped at the store when she saw the police officers on the roof.
"I was going to go the other way, but I decided to stop today," Macias-Contreras said. "The event today is helping make a difference in other people's lives, and I think that we need to start here at home."