Never let it be said that cops can't get competitive, especially for a good cause.
When the final tab had been cleared, Rancho Santa Margarita cops had raised more money for Special Olympics of Southern California than had their colleagues from Mission Viejo.
"That's all I care about," cracked Lt. Brian Schmutz, chief of police services in RSM.
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Schmutz was the point man for the Tip-A-Cop fundraising event Thursday night at the Wood Ranch BBQ. Over four hours, Orange County Sheriff deputies—often with one of seven participating Special Olympics athletes in tow—had gleaned $2,941 in contributions from diners.
Not all cops were from RSM. Some were from nearby areas, including Mission Viejo, and one routinely works the Harbor Patrol. All were volunteering off the clock for the good cause.
"I’m always saying this is an incredibly generous community and I’m constantly pleasantly surprised by the level of giving and commitment," Schmutz said. "I’ve been in law enforcement 22 years and this is by far the best job I’ve ever had."
The total was about $600 less than last year, but Schmutz was still pleased. Knowing that RSM had raised more than a similar fundraiser by Mission Viejo cops at their local Chili's Restaurant put the police chief in a good mood. So, too, did working with the seven Special Olympics athletes who participated.
"This is the most worthy event I do all year," Schmutz said. "I can’t think of anything else where we can raise almost $3,000 for Special Olympics. Orange County has 1,700 Special Olympics athletes and we had the opportunity to work with seven of them tonight and you won’t find people with bigger hearts anywhere."