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Serving Food and Bussing Dishes, Law Enforcement Raises Money for Special Olympics with Tip-A-Cop

All of the tips officers received at Goleta’s Chili’s Bar & Grill on Monday evening went to the Santa Barbara County chapter of the Special Olympics

Volunteers from the Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and District Attorney’s Office were servers at Goleta’s Chili’s Bar & Grill Monday evening and all of their tips went to the county chapter of the Special Olympics. Among the volunteers were sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi, in green, and Special Olympics athlete and global messenger Nannette Clark, fifth from left.
Volunteers from the Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and District Attorney’s Office were servers at Goleta’s Chili’s Bar & Grill Monday evening and all of their tips went to the county chapter of the Special Olympics. Among the volunteers were sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi, in green, and Special Olympics athlete and global messenger Nannette Clark, fifth from left.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

With grins and looks of concentration on their faces, uniformed law enforcement officers shuffled between tables and the kitchen at a Goleta restaurant while taking orders, bringing out food, and bussing dishes.

Serving their community in a very different way from what they’re used to, volunteers from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the District Attorney’s Office raised money for the Santa Barbara County chapter of the Special Olympics on Monday during Tip-A-Cop, an event held at the Chili’s Bar & Grill in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace.

All tips the volunteers received went to the Special Olympics, in addition to proceeds from Special Olympics shirts, pins, signature coins, and sunglasses, which were on sale at the restaurant.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi, a host and long-time Special Olympics law enforcement torch-run director for south Santa Barbara County.

“We pick a non-busy day, and it brings in more customers, and it’s really a benefit not only to the Special Olympics, but to the restaurant itself.”

Arnoldi is also one of 25 council members for the Law Enforcement Torch Run committee of Southern California Special Olympics, which stretches from San Luis Obispo County to San Diego County. He is also the principal organizer for joint local law enforcement and Special Olympics events.

Six South County and eight North County law enforcement agencies have representatives in the Special Olympics torch run, he told Noozhawk.

In 2015, Southern California law enforcement agencies raised $2 million, said Gina Carbajal, the Special Olympics’ regional director for the county.

The inaugural Tip-A-Cop was held in 1983, and Monday’s marked the fourth of 2016, after ones at Petrini’s Italian Restaurant, Paradise Café, and Outback Steakhouse.

Local agencies take turns participating in the Tip-A-Cop events, Carbajal said, with the sheriff’s, CHP, and DA offices turning out for this one.

“The money that we raise pays for our buses, pays for our hotels, pays for our food,” athlete Nannette Clark told Noozhawk. “And we meet people. We tell people about Special Olympics.”

Clark, whose Olympic swimming career spans 27 years and recently netted her four medals, including three golds, is one of the county’s global messengers, athletes who give public talks about the Special Olympics.

The program, Arnoldi said, has increased in popularity within the law enforcement agencies themselves.

“Each year, we try to recruit more people,” he said. “In fact, we had our Tip-A-Cop at Petrini’s in March, and I had 16 people volunteer to do that. It’s really fantastic to see officers in a different role, shall we say?”

In addition to Arnoldi, waiting on Chili’s customers were:

  • Capt. Mark D’Arelli, area commander for the CHP and maître d’
  • Retired Senior Custody Deputy Anita Diaz 
  • CHP Lt. Steve Larson
  • CHP Officer Jonathan Gutierrez  
  • CHP Officer Scott Cox
  • CHP Officer Adrian Aguilar
  • CHP Officer Mike Sims      
  • DA Investigator Patrick Adams                                      
  • DA Investigator Bob Lowry                                        
  • DA Investigator Kristina Rauchhaus

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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