Santa Monica College Police Department Raises Money for Special Olympics

The Santa Monica College Police Department (SMCPD) left their daily routine of vigilance for a morning of aprons, coffee, eggs and pancakes. SMCPD teamed up with the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) to raise money for the Southern California Special Olympics on Tuesday, April 23.

Santa Monica College Police Officer Albert Echeverria, serving breakfast to customers at The Santa Monica College Police Department fundraiser for the Southern California Special Olympics at The OP Cafe on Tuesday April 23, 2019. This fundraiser is to help raise money for a campaign called Law Enforcement Torch Run, to benefit the Special Olympics. (Tanya Barcessat / The Corsair)

Santa Monica College Police Officer Albert Echeverria, serving breakfast to customers at The Santa Monica College Police Department fundraiser for the Southern California Special Olympics at The OP Cafe on Tuesday April 23, 2019. This fundraiser is to help raise money for a campaign called Law Enforcement Torch Run, to benefit the Special Olympics. (Tanya Barcessat / The Corsair)

The event was held at The OP Café, where customers gathered in the small 37 seat restaurant as SMCPD Chief Johnnie Adams and his staff served up warm cups of joe.

OP Café general manager, Ron Knoll aided the officers and supervised his staff to ensure the fundraiser went well. “We are donating 20 percent of the proceeds. Officers are helping to serve and were just having a lot of fun raising money for the Olympics, which is a very special project for the chief of Santa Monica College PD. I used to do this in college so it kind of brings back old memories. You know for me, it’s nice to engage with the community. Not only do I see people from Santa Monica College, but I actually see some people from the neighborhood too and I think that’s important since we’re basically neighbors,” said Chief Adams.

Captain Vince Carter was among those officers serving up smiles. “When you do this type of event, when you’re helping someone out for a good cause, it just makes you happy inside. I think we need to do more of this. Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and remember what’s important, giving back is important,” said Carter

This was the first year that SMCPD partnered up with LETR thanks mainly to Chief Adams. He had participated in similar fundraising events with past departments and felt the needed to bring it to the SMC community.

Representatives from the LETR set tables in front of the cafe with information regarding their cause to raise money for the Special Olympic games. “We have a partnership with law enforcement, and this is the first year we have collaborated with Santa Monica College Police Department,” said representative Laura Mayo.

Three athletes were on scene savoring a warm egg breakfast. Track runner Eddie Mack, bowler Ryan Muir, and bowler, swimmer, and runner Jordan Nicole Wall sat outside the café greeting customers as they entered. “On my birthday it is going to be 36 years [of competing in the Olympics],” said Mack with a smile.

Wall was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four and said her motivation comes from, “Kids with special needs, kids who have leukemia cancer. I had that since I was younger.”

The Special Olympics were founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of former President John F. Kennedy and senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. That same year, the first ever Special Olympics were held in Chicago.

The games are held every two years with alternating summer and winter games. The 2019 games were most recently held from March 14-21 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The 2021 games are set to take part in Sweden.