Torch passed

North Bergen police raise money for Special Olympics

The North Bergen Police Department hosted a fundraiser and sold t-shirts last week in order to raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on June 10 at 9 a.m. The mission of the run is to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics World Games allow disabled athletes to compete every two years.
In the Law Enforcement Torch Run, officials run to their assigned section of town to grab a torch, and pass it on to the next section of town. Eventually it ends up in another city, such as Philadelphia.

“What better way to be charitable than with the community?” – Police Chief Robert Dowd
Officers Daniel Brown and Gleny Henry planned last week’s fundraiser and coordinated it with Applebee’s on 88th Street. At the restaurant, the police sold shirts, and 10 percent of Applebee’s proceeds from the day were to go toward the cause.
In June the run will start on 91st and Bergenline Avenue, and the police will make their way towards the north side of Newark Avenue. Sgt. Roberto Ruiz will follow police on his motorcycle to watch for traffic.

Raising money

A week ago Friday, police stood near the entrance with Applebee’s employees to greet guests and hand out lollipops.
“People usually come with kids to eat,” Henry said, “and it’s good for them to see us in a positive light instead of pulling people over.”
Last year, the officers raised $13,000 for the Special Olympics through charity events. According to Police Chief Robert Dowd, they are in the top 10 fundraisers among police departments in New Jersey, and have been for more than four decades.
Lists of the top 10 fundraising NJ PDs were on the back of the t-shirts sold outside.
Lt. Arthur Del said, “The community interaction is more important than the money. So even if we raise less than $300, the community is still cheering on the PD, so money is nothing compared that.”
Dowd said Officer Saray Durango is the biggest fundraiser in the community policing unit. Dowd knew Durango since she was in high school. He said she was, and still is, a great athlete he coached.
Durango started past events like the biggest loser challenge for the PD, and masquerade and Halloween parties. Dowd said, “It’s nice seeing her part of the PD. The whole unit does a great job.”
He added, “Kids get involved in the race, and we’re happy to get involved in it. Hopefully after me it still goes on. What better way to be charitable than with the community?”

Samantha Meyers can be reached at .

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