Police cuff volunteers for fund-raiser

by Heather Fors

Smiles replaced Miranda warnings Tuesday as police officers handcuffed and hauled away about 100 students, staff and faculty members for charity.
As part of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s fourth annual Jail and Bail fund-raiser, area police officers escorted people from classrooms and offices to a makeshift jail on the Northrop Plaza. Once in jail, participants made telephone calls to ask for bail money, which will be donated to Special Olympics of Minnesota.
Police from the Minneapolis, University and Sheriff’s departments volunteered time to help the fraternity members raise $7,600 in pledges. About $3,000 in corporate sponsorship was also raised for the event.
“The most impressive thing — the most meaningful — is on a day like this to see the comaraderie,” said Dee Foster, special events and promotions officer for Special Olympics Minnesota. Foster was at the event helping the students.
Fraternity members said they had hoped to raise $15,000, which would have topped last year’s total of $13,000, but were generally pleased with the enthusiasm of the volunteers.
Marvin Marshak, a physics and astronomy professor is a veteran participant, and came willingly.
“I volunteer because I like to see students do things, so I should encourage them by participating,” he said.
University President Mark Yudof, who was scheduled to be arrested at 1:30 p.m., showed up at 1:32 p.m. and light-heartedly apologizing for his tardiness.
“Would it help to bribe you, officer?” Yudof joked as he was hand-cuffed. He got to work calling people to pledge bail money as soon as he sat down.
Chris Fosland, coordinator of the fund-raiser and a mechanical engineering junior, said Sigma Alpha Epsilon members have been working year-round to drum up local support for the event.
Blimpie Subs and Salads, Domino’s Pizza and University Bookstores provided food, advertising and grab bags. A local telecommunications service donated 11 cellular phones and air time.
If smiles are any indication, police officers were glad to help out.
“We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t like it,” said Minneapolis Police Officer Mike Coan. “It’s fun for us.”
Coan said officers were kept busy all day, and of those he apprehended, only one refused to be taken to the slammer.
In addition to the Jail and Bail, some officers will also participate in the Minnesota Law Enforcement Torch Run. Proceeds from the 13-year-old event — which generally brings in about $150,000 — will go to the Special Olympics.
This year’s run will take place June 5 and will end at the University’s Bierman Field.
“It’s good to make people aware that cops are good people,” Coan said.