Jail ‘n’ Bail nabs more than $25,000

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity organized the event for the 11th year.

Stephanie Gregory

Bright and early at 8 a.m. Tuesday, police pounded on the Sanford Hall door of first-year student Kim Mooney.

“I was so scared and shocked,” she said. “The police officer came into my room and said that he had a warrant out for the arrest of Kim Mooney.”

Barely out of bed, she soon sat in the back of a squad car headed for Northrop Plaza. She was booked, had her mug shot taken and was stuck in the midst of Jail ‘n’ Bail.

From the makeshift slammer, Mooney and dozens of students and staff members called friends and family for bail money – all contributions that would not be for their release but for Special Olympics Minnesota.

After arresting more than 100 people, participants raised more than $25,000 in the annual event organized by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Participants and organizers said Jail ‘n’ Bail, now in its 11th year, has become one of the biggest charity fund-raisers on campus.

Both the University and Minneapolis police departments helped out, oftentimes handcuffing unsuspecting students around campus.

After issuing warrants, officers showed up at the future inmates’ fraternities, sororities, residence halls or other campus locations for the arrests.

Volunteer judge Chris

Meyer, a private investigator who has been the event’s judge for the last four years, determined bail for inmates during the day.

Starting at $50, Meyer increased bail per inmate by $10 for each clothing item, piercing and tattoo they had.

“I have things I don’t like,” he said. “Flip-flops, piercings, tattoos, shorts – all of these increase the bail.

“It has been awesome. I haven’t had positive relationships with fraternities until I got involved with these guys. They are incredible and deserve a lot of credit.”

Jordan Dietrich, the event co-chairman and Sigma Alpha Epsilon member, said he was excited about the day’s success.

“It has turned out great,” he said “President (Bob) Bruininks even showed up, got arrested and in 30 minutes raised $500 for the event.”

Amy Countryman, Special Olympics law enforcement manager, handed out T-shirts to the event participants.

Jail ‘n’ Bail is also another opportunity to have positive interactions between University students and the University police, Countryman said.

Since hosting the event for the first time in 1995, participants have raised more than $110,000 for the Special Olympics. This year’s goal was to raise $24,000, Dietrich said.

All of the donations will be given to the Special Olympics, organizers said.

Mooney said she was happy with the end result.

“It ended up being really funny and a good idea to raise money,” she said.